Linda Kaljundi (Tallinn University), Tiina-Mall Kreem (Art Museum of Estonia)

From Museums to Students – Conceptualising and Mediating Digitalized Images of History: 20 + 1 Eductional Films and Worksheets About Visual Sources of Historical Memory

This paper departs from the main theme of the conference, which the use of digital cultural heritage, especially in the field of education; relying on its authors experience in working with images of history. The production of educational films about 19th–21st centuries visual representations of history from Estonian museum and other collections started in 2012, along with the initiation of research projects on Estonian images of history, the preparation of research-based exhibitions at Kadriorg Art Museum (2013) and Kumu Art Museum (2018) and related publications.

The production of educational films was closely related to our aim to link academic research and curating with teaching (in parallel, this also involved university level teaching). For research, digital databases were of fundamental importance, as they enabled to map Estonian images of history much more extensively than it had been done ever before. In turn, educational films and materials enabled to introduce the digital databases and the materials they contain into wider public use.

10–12 minutes long films analyse, also with the help of concrete case studies, the functioning of images of history in the making and remaking of historical memory. The films involved a number of well-known Estonian historians as experts (David Vseviov, Toomas Hiio, Marju Kõivupuu, Inna Jürjo, Juhan Kreem). The director of all the films is the documentary film maker Raimo Jõerand. The peer-reviewed educational materials accompanying the films (200 pages in total) were designed in co-operation with the teacher of history, art history and civics, Liis Reier.

The topic of 20 educational films corresponds to the national curriculum of history, analysing significant historical events and sites of memory: Livonian and Estonian crusades, the so-called St. George’s Night Uprising (a revolt in medieval Estonia from 1343–1345), the Napoleonic Wars, the Mahtra War (a peasant uprising from 1858), the Revolution of 1905, etc. The purpose of the 21st film, Englightenment. Freemansonry. Estonia was to compensate the lack of Baltic German topics in the national history curriculum.

All these films have been introduced through various seminars, conferences, and through the Estonian History and Civics Teachers Association. Statistics about the use of films and teaching materials shows that through them the images of history digitalised by the Estonian museums, archives, libraries, etc. have found their way to schools and universities.

The paper stresses the importance of both academic research and popularisation of museum holdings. In a situation where the internet witnesses an increasing growth of digitalised objects, documents and images, the challenge of digital humanities becomes not the quantity but the quality of knowledge production and distribution. As problems, the paper highlights the rapid ageing of digital materials and platforms, as well as the need to balance digital images with material objects in the learning process.

History teaching and images 1–2 ( Ajalooõpetus ja pildid):

Enlightenment. Freemasonry. Estonia (Valgustus. Vabamüürlus. Eesti):