Sponsored by the Arcadia fund, the Palestinian Museum Digital Archive aims at collecting, digitizing and making widely available (in Open Access) endangered archival materials documenting Palestinian life and history. Started in 2018, the project has now reached its third phase involving partnerships inside and outside Palestine as well as a broadening of the geographical scope covered.
At the time of our visit, the archive included over 200,000 documents like “identification papers, official records, letters, diaries, manuscripts, maps, photographs, films, and audio recordings” collected from individuals, families, and institutions. The Palestinian Museum Digital Archive only keeps digital surrogates and return the original documents to their owners after processing.
Visitors can either Search the archive, Browse collections or Explore topics.
The basic search only requires to enter keyword(s) in the search bar at the top-right corner of the page. The advanced search offers a more refined search where you can limit by:
- date (default year range is 1900-2024)
- type(s) of material
- collection(s) (generally named after donor)
- entity(ies) (i.e. institution, organization, etc.)
The collection browse allows to identify specific archives of interest before searching them. The number of documents in each collection range from less than a hundred to thousands of documents. The time period covered is clearly stated at the right-top corner of each collection:
The topics exploration offers a different way of navigating the website through subjects assigned to documents. Among the long list of topics (fifteen in total), visitors will find the following:
- Architecture and Landscape (almost 9,000 items)
- Culture and arts (over 42,000 results)
- Diaspora and emigration (almost 6,000 documents)
- Political movement and mobilization (over 14,500 results)
- Resistance and struggle (approximately 6,000 items)
- Women (almost 11,000 records).
The number of documents in each category is indicated right beside the topic, and when scrolling over the topic, a series of thumbnails gives a snapshot of items that will be found under this topic. To ease navigation, the list could be sorted alphabetically.
It is important to note that all materials in the Palestinian Museum Digital Archive are “copyrighted either by the museum or by third parties who have granted permission for their materials to be included on this site. Visitors can therefore only use the documents “for personal, educational, non-commercial use, or for fair use as defined in the United States copyright laws.” It is possible to ask for high-resolution images by emailing email@example.com or sending the request via the form available here.
To submit your personal archive, you may fill out the following form:
The website is entirely bilingual English and Arabic.