On 19th October the National Museum in Warsaw (MNW) hosted the Digital Museum conference, co-organised by Wikimedia Polska. The meeting was attended by almost 130 representatives of large to small Polish GLAM sector institutions.
The conference marked the first anniversary of our Wikipedian-in-Residence program at the National Museum and also the second anniversary of the opening of the refurbished Faras Gallery, the topic of our latest collaboration with the National Museum in Warsaw (see below). Our Wikipedian-in-Residence program and a lengthy collaboration between the museum and Polish Wikimedia community served as an inspiration towards discussion on more general topics: best practices in digitisation of cultural heritage, cooperation between GLAM institutions and the wider public, or the role museum visitors (both real-life and digital) can play in creating and disseminating knowledge.
The guests included almost 130 representatives of various GLAM institutions from Poland and neighbouring countries (among others, the National Museum of Kraków, the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, Royal Castle of Warsaw, National Library, Polish Army Museum, Asia and Pacific Museum, Taras Shevchenko Museum of Kiev and others).
The conference was accompanied by a newly published booklet discussing the Faras project itself, as well as aspects of good practices and strategies in running open digital projects. The texts are in both Polish and English language and the entire publication is available for download from Wikimedia Commons. .
The Faras on Wikipedia project (Faras w Wikipedii in Polish), run by Wikimedia Polska and the National Museum in Warsaw (MNW), aims to create and improve Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons content concerning the Faras archaeological discoveries, the Faras Cathedral, and the Faras Gallery – a permanent exhibition at the NMW. We aim to cover topics such as the archaeological excavations in Faras, the cultural history of the region, Nubian Christian culture, and the history of the artefacts.
A group of volunteers, most of whom were new editors, wrote several dozen articles on key subjects related to the Faras gallery. Those include articles on the gallery itself, on Christian Nubian art, the restoration of ancient wall paintings or biographies of people involved in the discovery and preservation of artifacts from Faras. As part of the ongoing project the Museum has shared through Wikimedia Commons over a hundred pictures documenting both the 1960s excavation effort, and the pieces of Nubian art. Among the latter are high resolution digital reproductions of priceless frescoes discovered by Polish archaeologists in Nubia and restored in Warsaw. The only comparable collection of early Christian Nubian art is in the National Museum of Sudan in Khartoum. Some of the Wikipedia articles were then translated to several other languages. The translation effort is not finished yet, we are still looking for volunteers.
The Faras Project is supported by prof. Stefan Jakobielski, one of the members of the original team of archaeologists who discovered the Faras Cathedral. The project's team also included prof. Aleksandra Sulikowska, curator of the Nubian Collection of the National Museum, who went through every new article to verify its content. The project is supervised by Gytha, the Wikipedian-in-Residence at the National Museum, Warsaw.
The Faras project is not the first joint enterprise between Polish Wikimedia community and the National Museum. Back in November 2015 we started a side-project accompanying the Masters of Pastel Painting exhibition. The Museum shared over 100 professional reproductions of rare pastel paintings from Polish collections, while Wikipedia volunteers (both veteran and new editors) wrote or expanded several dozen articles related to pastel painting and the artists, whose works were being exhibited in Warsaw. The project also marked the start of our Wikipedian in Residence program in the museum. A long-time Wikipedia editor Maria Drozdek (User:Gytha) became the first resident in any Polish GLAM institution.
Saint Anne, one of the best-known Nubian christian paintings
Professor Kazimierz Michałowski posing with Saint Anne]], a 1960s agency picture uploaded to Commons thanks to MNW
The Museum also contributed several dozen rare pictures depicting archaeological excavations in the 1960s.
Next year the Polish Librarians Association (Stowarzyszenie Bibliotekarzy Polskich; SBP in Polish) is celebrating its' 100th anniversary. Together with PLA's Warsaw Chapter we have identified 100 biographies either missing or poorly covered in Polish Wikipedia. A group of volunteer librarians who attended one of our workshops back in September are starting to write articles on their predecessors. As part of the collaboration we plan to hold additional workshops and organise a library editathon in January 2017. It is the first such formal collaboration between librarians and Wikipedia in Poland and one of the first forays into the library sector for the Polish Wikipedia community.
Amazing work on the conference and the Libraries project is awesome! Really looking forward to learning more, and hope you will find Library collaborations fruitful: most other communities are as well. If you are looking for an event to participate in, we are running #1lib1ref in January: see the call for participation from Wikimedia Communities. Its designed for local Wikimedia Communities to collaborate with their library communities, and should provide a platform for further conversation and participation. Looking forward to seeing your collaboration!Astinson (WMF) (talk) 01:19, 8 November 2016 (UTC)