Immigration Museum of Sao Paulo: first steps towards an open access policy
This proposal arises from the proposal to make the Immigration Museum a memory institution pioneer in Brazil in the implementation of open access policies to their digital content, which today is a set of extensive resources, rich and still little known or explored by the public. The proposal can also be understood as a strategy to fulfil the need to give greater visibility to the collection, to the educational material and the various types of content produced by the Immigration Museum.
It was built from the analysis of case studies of museums that embraced open access policies, understood here as proposals for permanent online availability of digital resources that anyone can use them freely, including for purposes commercial, without asking for permission. It was born also as a development of the participation of a representative of the Immigration Museum in the Institute for Open Leardership 2, held between 14 and 17 March 2016 in Cape Town by Creative Commons and Open Knowledge Network.
Insights from the first experience
As there is no known case of Brazilian institution of memory that has already made an open access initiative, the Immigration Museum adopted an exploratory methodology towards the whole project. The first experience is happening now and it is linked to the temporary exhibition called “O Caminho das Coisas” (The Path of the Things). This exhibition is about other project that the Museum has that is called "Encontros com Acervo" (Meetings with the collection).
“Meetings with the collections” provides a collective debate of objects, images, text and sound recordings involving the museum professionals and the communities of descendants, migrants and immigrants near institution. The project also assists in the collective construction of a collection policy that addresses the various possibilities of representation of migrant and immigrant identities associated with the history of the state of São Paulo.
From its conception to the present day, the project has held three meetings. The first, held in 2013 and still with the holdings out of the in the museum's premises (due to restoration of the building), was focused on the objects whose origin was attributed as Lithuania. There were two meetings with representatives of this group, inhabitants of the city of São Paulo. The second, held in 2015, focused on the parts of Japanese origin, particularly clothing. For this meeting, the Immigration Museum called a partner institution: the Museum of Japanese Immigration. The third and final meeting, also held in 2015, did not involve neither a group nor an institution but a former donor.
So, the temporary exhibition explores the multiplicity of meanings of a museum object and the different ways that can be interpreted by museum people and the public, based on the meetings commented above It has a playful and didactic perspective, making references to different migration issues through documentation and research work that the museum performs in their day to day.
Because of this collaborative approach of both the project and exhibition, Immigration Museum decided to go through its first experience with openGLAM initiatives. The first step was to get in contact with the Brazilian Wikimedia Group of Research and Education, especially with Rodrigo Padula.
After a while, the museum start to upload images in Wikimedia Commons (category) and link them to articles in Wikipedia. Other steps involved to upload images of the selected objects on Flickr and Pinterest.
Now the Immigration Museum plans to keep on moving towards the openness of its holdings and to help promoting openGLAM movement in São Paulo and Brazil as well.
Great job, guys. Brazil needs more GLAM. I wish luck in the coming activities. I hope more cities gets motivated to do the same.