In a world consumed by forced forgetting of narratives and erasure of indigenous pasts, preserving heritage and history has been a long-standing battle the Palestinians have had to endure.
In the fight for decolonization and the struggle for liberation, museums and archives — such as the Palestinian Museum Digital Archive — serve as custodians of collective memory. Through careful preservation of letters, photographs, manuscripts, and other significant artifacts, digital archives bridge the past and present — and ensure their accessibility for future generations.
The Palestinian Museum Digital Archive launched its first phase in 2018 to collect various documents including identification papers, official records, letters, diaries, manuscripts, maps, photographs, films, and audio recordings that were under threat of loss, damage, or confiscation.
Since its establishment, the project has initiated partnerships with local and international institutions interested in Palestinian archives.
The project also aims to broaden its geographical scope, relations, and partnerships with the local community. The archive is set to include more than 360,000 freely-available items. The items on the website were digitized and translated in Arabic or English to highlight the different aspects of Palestinian life, history, and legacy.
“A visitor can browse the Archive through exploring the different collections offered by hundreds of Palestinians to be safely saved for future generations,” the digital archive’s website reads.
“One can also navigate the website through topics that summarize many aspects of Palestinian life such as culture & arts, resistance & struggle, displacement & diaspora, social & organizational movement, everyday life, education & extracurricular activities, women, and others” it adds.
The archive includes over two centuries of Palestinian narratives, where various individuals, families, and institutions offered their archives to be made accessible to the world.
By reaching into the past of Palestinains, often overlooked or distanced by history, this project is shedding light on present struggles and igniting thought for alternatives for a different future.