I sat quietly in front of the news the other night, overwhelmed by the 70th anniversary Holocaust commemorations of the liberation of Auschwitz. It seems both impossible and, sadly, all too possible, for such mass cruelty to exist in the world. The strength of human character is an amazing thing, and the stories of survival are both horrifying in their detail and uplifting in their wonderful spirit.
As with so many occasions such as this commemoration, one of the things that struck me is the film footage, letter, photos, cards – all the little recordings of human endeavour that bring stories to life and give them more shape and character.
I’ve talked about this before, and I’m sure it is something that concern a lot of museums. Where is the flotsam and jetsam of daily life in 2015? In 100 years’ time as some museum staff member puts together an exhibition, or writes an article, will they have access to photos, film, diaries, letters? Or will they struggle to find all those little things that bring richness and add meaning?
Email, not letters. iPhone photos, not printed photos. Tablet video that gets upload to FaceBook. I love technology, and am a strong user of social media, but I also print and scrapbook my photos, write letters, keep diaries. I suspect I’m in the minority. Where is your history, are you leaving behind a rich legacy of life’s wee bits and bobs?