Opening of the exhibition “Exiles, Migration Flows and Solidarity” at the Documentary Centre for the Historical Memory (Spain)

Yesterday, 25th of November, the second of the three transmedia exhibitions included in the European Digital Treasures project, “Exiles, Migration Flows and Solidarity”, was successfully opened at the Documentary Centre of the Historical Memory (Spain).


This exhibition analyzes how migrations and exchanges have contributed particularly to building cultural diversity in Europe through the documentary treasures kept in European archives. And it is the outcome of the European cooperation, a clear example of the combination of the capacities, heritage, diversity, value, and inspiration of all those who have made this project possible.

Games to play!

The narratives displayed here combine different technological tools that allow us to get to know our written past through multiple channels. Visitors can interact with: 9 original documents from 4 different archives, 21 facsimiles from 7 countries, 18 digital reproductions of documents from 6 countries, displayed in interactive booths, 1 quiz game for people who love challenges, 1 memory matching game to encourage observation, 1 infinite running game to reward speed by catching archival documents, 1 interactive RPG game to learn how to work on an archive, 4 augmented reality experiences to explore parallel worlds and videos presenting the project and its merchandising products!

Through the selection of 44 documents from the archives that participate in the project, European migrations are narrated from a historical perspective. In a Europe that is currently facing one of its most important migration crises, the relevance of this exhibition is key. The narrative has been structured through three thematic pillars: Work-related Migration; War- related Migration; Political Uprising, Turmoil and Persecution.

The stories combine different tools and technological solutions, with which the public will be able to access the written past through multiple channels that will allow them to experiment, play, learn and share, with that unique ability that documents have to tell personal stories (letters, images, boarding passes, visas, certificates, etc.) behind the European migration figures.

Opening ceremony.

The opening was chaired by Severiano Hernández Vicente, Head of the Spanish State Archives, by María Oliván, Head of the Transparency, Document Management & Access to Documents Unit of the European Commissio, by Manuel Melgar, Director of the Documentary Centre of the Historical Memory, and by María Encarnación Pérez Álvarez, Government Sub-delegate in Salamanca. It was also attended by representatives of the University of Salamanca, of different archives of the province of Salamanca, by the members of the ‘European Digital Treasures’ project and a representation of the Spanish State Archives.

The exhibition can be visited until March 13th, 2022 in Spain, with capacity restrictions and hygiene and safety measures established by health authorities to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Practical information: https://www.culturaydeporte.gob.es/cultura/areas/archivos/mc/archivos/cdmh/portada.html

Written by Spanish State Archives.

Opening of the exhibition “Exiles, migratory flows and solidarity” at the Archives House (Norway)

After more than two years of work in the preparation of the three transmedia exhibitions included in the European Digital Treasures project, on 12th of November, the exhibition Exiles, migratory flows, and solidarity was successfully opened at the Archives House (Norway).

This exhibition is the outcome of the European cooperation, a clear example of the combination of the capacities, heritage, diversity, value, and inspiration of all those who have made this project possible.

Augmented Reality.

The narratives displayed here combine different technological tools that allow us to get to know our written past through multiple channels. Visitors can interact with digital reproductions of documents from nine European countries, a quiz game for people who love challenges, a memory matching game to encourage observation, an infinite running game to reward speed by catching archival documents, an interactive RPG game to learn how to work on an archive, three augmented reality experiences to explore parallel worlds and two videos presenting the project! On display are also merchandising products created by professional designers, inspired by the documents presented in the Digital Treasures exhibitions.

Opening ceremony.
Opening ceremony with Inga Bolstad.

The opening ceremony was led by the National Archivist of Norway, Inga Bolstad. Afterwards, Ole Gausdal, who has been responsible for curating the exhibition, did a guided tour for the guests.

The opening was attended by the General director of the Book, Archives and Libraries of Portugal, Silvestre Lacerda and the Deputy Director of the Spanish State Archives, Severiano Hernández and members of the ‘European Digital Treasures’ project from the National Archives of Hungary, Malta, Spain, Portugal and from ICARUS. From Norway there were many invited guests from the National Archives of Norway and local and regional heritage institutions.

Guided tour with Ole Gausdal.

The exhibition can be visited until January 30th, 2022, in Norway. The same exhibition will open in Salamanca, Spain on 25th November 2021. Later, in 2022, it will open in Hungary, Portugal, Malta, and Austria.

Written by the National Archives of Norway

Some members of the team of the European Digital Treasures project.

The EDT-Exhibition Welcome Video

Starting from the end of June 2021 in Barcelona the three transmedia exhibitions start all over Europe and will last till October 2022. The basic idea of the project team was to welcome visitors to the individual exhibitions by means of a short video clip and to present and summarise the exhibition concept as it were in a nutshell. This video will greet visitors during the exhibitions on TV screens mounted overhead and, as it were, convey a first impression.

On the one hand, the participating institutions are presented, which make the exhibited documents available; on the other hand, a selection of documents that is as diverse as possible symbolises each individual thematic focus of the exhibition (The Making of Europe – Exile, Migration Flows and Solidarity – European Inventions and Discoveries). Each participating institution is represented by three documents, with each document explained with a short title and dating. In addition, the welcome video also provides an overview of the timetable of the exhibitions in the different countries.

To meet the needs of local visitors, no less than seven language versions of the video have been produced, namely in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Norwegian, Maltese, Hungarian and German.

In addition to the above-mentioned area of application, it is also planned to use this video, accompanied by a background melody, as a general presentation medium for the EDT project, a kind of business card for the project.

Written by Dr. Karl HEINZ, MAS,
Science & Strategy
ICARUS – International Centre for Archival Research

Ibero-American Migratory Movements online database

The Ibero-American Migratory Movements Portal is a project coordinated by the Subdirectorate General of State Archives of the Spanish Ministry of Culture and Sport, developed with the aim of promoting and facilitating access to documentary collections relating to Spanish emigration to Ibero-America in the period of Mass European emigration to the Americas. It offers free access to any user interested in accessing the documents and digitised images of these collections.

This database is the result of intense cooperation between various Spanish and Latin American archives, which will gradually increase as the documentation of a migratory nature preserved on both sides of the Atlantic is described and digitised.

Spanish migrants.
General Archive of Administration (Spain)

After the discovery of America, Spanish migration to the Indies was a constant linked to the colonisation of the new territories which produced a steady flow of emigrants to the continent. However, the colonial age is not very relevant to migratory movements if we compare it with the emigration that took place during the 19th and 20th centuries.

In keeping with the dynamics of certain European countries, between the end of the 19th century and the first thirty years of the 20th century, Spain became a country of economic emigration. This is the age of massive emigration of Spaniards to America, which had a social importance and demographic weight way above that of the colonial era. During this chronological period, the American continent opened its doors to immigrants. Many governments believed that the solution to the lack of labour and the exploitation of new products lay in this group of people, and that their work force could materially develop emerging states.

Spanish migrants.
General Archive of Administration (Spain)

It is difficult to calculate the exact number of Spanish emigrants leaving to America during this period due to the dispersion of sources, but it fluctuates between two and four million people according to authors. Of all the Ibero-american countries receiving Spanish workers, Argentina and Cuba recorded the highest percentage of continuous flow, as immigration was encouraged by various governments and strengthened by family networks.

The Great Depression during the thirties put an end to massive emigration to America, although the phenomenon did not simply vanish. At this time, host countries started to restrict the entrance of new immigrants.

However, the Spanish Civil War saw the start of a new migratory wave: exile. Mexico, under the presidency of Lázaro Cárdenas, rescued and received between fifteen and twenty thousand exiled Spanish republicans from refugee camps in France, and became one of the main host countries.

This database currently allows consultation of 77,480 records of emigrants and 244,802 digitised images of documents from archival collections that provide evidence of emigration to Argentina, Cuba, Mexico, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Uruguay.

Through this project, many descendants of Spaniards have been able to follow the documentary trail of their ancestors, either out of simple family curiosity or, in most cases, to obtain documents that generate rights of option to Spanish nationality, especially in the case of the descendants of political exiles. Therefore, with this project, the Spanish State Archives have contributed to generate digital resources that allow the restitution of rights in a context of democratic memory.

Cristina Díaz Martínez
Head of Institutional Relations. Spanish State Archives

For more information, visit the portal or watch the following video (in Spanish).