Jewish Heritage Europe

Museums on the Web — Examining the Virtual Shtetl

Pauline Sliwinski, who as an intern at the Museum of the History of Polish Jews helped create the English version of the excellent Virtual Shtetl web resource,  presented a lengthy paper about the Virtual Shtetl site called Museum as Memoryscape at the conference  Museums and the Web 2012, held in San Diego April 11-14. It’s worth a read!

The concept of memoryscape serves as an entry point for interpreting the Virtual Shtetl Portal of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, the memories it sustains and contests, and its stated and less explicit social purpose. A museum itself is a memoryscape, a portal through which societies remember. The Virtual Shtetl Portal is more than a multimedia exhibition that provides a new way of experiencing a museum. It is a place of concentrated cultural practice where public history is being rewritten, where individuals become guardians of historical memory, where the public is empowered by a passion for the subject and the availability of an Internet connection, and where memories and identities are constructed and negotiated.