Do you have a box hidden deep in the attic or under the bed that holds your great grandfather’s diaries from 1914-1918? His army medals? Or a photo with a special story behind it? If so, it could be part of a unique European WW1 project, shared worldwide to commemorate the centenary of the outbreak of the war.
Oxford University, the British Library and JISC have joined forces with Europeana - Europe’s digital museum, library and archive - and local institutions including the Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum and Banbury Museum, to gather and tell personal stories from 1914-1918. These valuable stories will then take their place in the ever-growing online European archive of family memorabilia from WW1. And we need people’s help.
Families are urged to bring photographs, letters, diaries, film or audio recordings, together with the stories of who they belonged to and why they are important to their families to the Europeana 1914-1918 Family History Roadshow at Banbury Museum on 3 November.
Historians and experts from the Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum, the Western Front Association and Oxford Museum Services will be on hand to talk about the significance of finds, while staff from Oxford University IT Services and the British Library will professionally digitise the objects and upload them to the dedicated http://europeana1914-1918.eu website on the spot.
Roadshows like this one are being held across Europe as the centenary approaches. Each individual story - that otherwise might never be told outside of the family - is essential to creating a unique European archive and perspective of World War One. Through this archive, stories from countries across Europe will be shared online, accessed by others worldwide and saved for future generations.
And if people can’t get to the event in Banbury, the Europeana 1914-1918 website gives advice on how to can scan, photograph and upload material at home. http://europeana1914-1918.eu/en/contributor
Digitisation saves precious memorabilia from being lost or thrown away - and it keeps them safe for future use by schools, genealogists, cultural organisations and historians.
ITV Meridian will also be filming the event for a special Remembrance Day feature. We would love to hear your story. The Roadshow takes place between 10am and 4.30pm at Banbury Museum, Spiceball Park Road, Banbury, OX16 2PQ