The William Ready Division of Archives and Research Collections at McMaster University Library is launching the latest in a series of digital initiatives aimed at bringing its unique collections to a wider, online audience. The new site, Peace and War in the 20th Century, has been developed with the assistance of almost $100,000 in funding from the Department of Canadian Heritage, through the Canadian Memory Fund.
This website aims to create an immersive virtual environment which invites users to explore two of the most central and formative aspects of twentieth-century culture: peace and war. Foregrounding McMaster’s extensive, unique and world-renowned archival collections, incorporating advice from the best subject experts in the field and utilizing state of the art, robust digital technology, the site tells the compelling story of how these two contrary impulses have shaped our country and our world.
Organized into compact thematic modules, constructed to appeal to a wide range of users, content presented in digital form ranges from wrenchingly personal diaries, letters and photographs to the powerful public propaganda of recruiting posters, peace bulletins, and popular songs. The site includes some 3000 database entries and almost 50 individual case studies as well as audio and video segments, maps and an animation of a First World War trench raid, recreated from original archival documents.
The site is already winning praise. Dr. Ken Cruikshank, Chair of the Department of History says: “what makes this website exciting to me is that it introduces students to the exceptional archival resources available to them in their own backyard, at McMaster University Library. The online sources are an exciting addition to research materials currently available on the Internet, and will motivate students interested in studying efforts to make peace, or the social, political and cultural impact of war.”
The project is the first developed by McMaster University Library in collaboration with two community partners, Local History and Archives at Hamilton Public Library and Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum.
A launch event to celebrate the project is being held on Monday, September 29th at 10:30 am to 11:30am in Convocation Hall.
If you are interested in attending the launch or for more information, please contact Kathy Garay.