A virtual Spanish Civil War museum, developed by Trent University history professor Antonio Cazorla-Sanchez, alongside York University’s Adrian Shubert and international collaborators, officially opened to visitors in line.
Cazorla-Sanchez joined Trent President Leo Groarke and Alfredo Martínez Serrano, the Spanish Ambassador, to launch the museum Thursday night at Trent University.
“The Virtual Museum of the Spanish Civil War reflects Trent’s commitment to interdisciplinary and international collaboration and the digital humanities,” Groarke said in a statement.
“The impressive result of the efforts of Professor Cazorla-Sanchez and his fellow researchers is an online tool that can mobilize knowledge in a way that makes it accessible anywhere in the world.”
Trent calls the museum the first of its kind as a dedicated museum that gives a holistic explanation of the conflict from a variety of interdisciplinary perspectives, including history, archaeology, digital humanities, literary and cultural studies.
The project brought together scholars and experts from Trent, York University in Toronto, the federal government’s Humanities Research County and the University of Warwick in Coventry, England, as well as the British Embassy. Spain in Canada and the Spanish Ministry of Culture and Sports. .
Among the museum’s co-directors is Cazorla-Sanchez, a longtime university faculty member and one of North America’s foremost experts on the Spanish Civil War and fascism. He was also the recipient of the 2019-2020 Distinguished Research Award from Trent University.
“In many ways, the past is a foreign country. Through the visual elements of this museum, we witness what people experienced at the time. A way for visitors to immerse themselves in the mentality of the people who lived through these events,” said Cazorla-Sanchez.
“Big issues that were relevant during the Spanish Civil War (social justice, democracy, women’s rights, minority rights) remain relevant today.”
The museum has received international support from institutional partners, the Embassy of Spain in Canada, as well as funding of over $30,000 from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada through a Connections grant.
The Virtual Museum is hosted by the Bata Trent Library and Archive.
Part of Trent’s in-kind contribution to the project included support from Bata Library and Archives to develop and host the virtual museum, an example of the role libraries and archives can play as an information resource and knowledge mobilizer.
The university says this has allowed the project to benefit from the library’s expertise in areas such as metadata, digital collections and technology, with scholars and memory institutions internationally.
“Each of the digital objects in this virtual museum allows visitors to interact with them, as well as important contextual information presented in clear and accessible language,” said Dwayne Collins, digital scholarship and innovation librarian at Trent. .
“As the project develops, we will be able to develop different ways for visitors to explore the relationships between these objects and their connections to other repositories.”
People can explore the Virtual Museum of the Spanish Civil War online at www.vscw.ca