The Palestinian Museum Announces the Commencement of its Digital Archive Project 

February 18, 2018 – Birzeit: The Palestinian Museum announces the commencement of its first Digital Archive project with a USD 1.9 million grant from Arcadia Fund. This is a new strategic initiative aiming to create an open-access digital archive of audio-visual records, as well as objects, documents and art works from endangered collections, documenting Palestinian history from 1800 to the present day.

Running over 36 months, the Palestinian Museum Digital Archive (PMDA) will scout, research, digitise and publish 145,000 endangered archival items on an online platform in English and Arabic. The Museum is proud to announce its partnership with the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Library to preserve and publish the digitised archives on the UCLA Digital Library platform.  

The PMDA is the Museum’s flagship and long-term virtual project, considering the three-year period as the establishment phase of the first-ever Palestinian digital archive of this type and scale in Palestine. “This project will reinforce the Museum’s mission as a transnational cultural institution connecting Palestinians and those interested in Palestine, with the Palestinian rich history and culture,” said Zina Jardaneh, Chair of the Board of the Palestinian Museum. “We are grateful for the generous contribution from Arcadia and the valuable partnership with the UCLA Library that will allow open access to this extensive archive for future generations to come,” added Jardaneh.  

The unique significance of the project stems from the fact that much of the Palestinian heritage has been lost due to the on-going conflict. The PMDA will therefore seek to preserve documents, photographs, objects, works of art and film and audio recordings that constitute and document the modern Palestinian history.

The Palestinian Museum is an independent institution dedicated to supporting an open and dynamic Palestinian culture nationally and internationally. The Museum presents and engages with new perspectives on Palestinian history, society and culture. The Museum is a flagship project of Welfare Association (Taawon), an independent non-profit organisation, committed to providing development and humanitarian assistance in Palestine and the Palestinian communities in Lebanon. 

The Arcadia Fund is the charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin. The Arcadia grant to the Palestinian Museum comes in pursuit of one of the organisation’s charitable aims to preserve endangered cultural heritage. Since its inception in 2001, Arcadia has awarded grants in excess of USD 500 million . More information can be found here.

As one of the world’s leading research libraries, the UCLA Library is globally recognised as an innovator in library collections and services. Last year, more than 20 million people accessed the UCLA Library’s digital and online resources, which now include the largest collection of spectral images in the world. By preserving global cultural heritage, the Library fuels the transfer of knowledge across generations and around the world.  More information can be found here