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The Wende Museum in Culver CIty has received a matching three year-grant of $150,000 from the Museums for America Program of The Institute of Museum and Library Services to catalogue, digitize and make accessible its significant audiovisual collection from the German Democratic Republic.
More than 6,500 documentary and educational films, filmstrips and audio-recordings -- as well as at least 10,000 slides -- document two generations of East Germans living and working within a communist society that lasted for 40 years. Fifty percent of these at-risk materials will be digitized and made available for research on DVDs; at least 20 percent will be accessible through an online catalogue and a variety of public programs.
By making the materials widely available, unrestricted and free of charge, the project aims to advance the understanding of the complexities and legacy of Cold War history. The project will also enable The Wende Museum to establish better intellectual control over an important segment of its collection.
According to Associate Director Donna Stein, “Moving images are an emerging and critical way for contemporary historians to study and interpret the past. As both works of art and historical representations the Museum’s audiovisual holdings offer a truly unique insight into a vanished culture that was little known in the West. By preserving and exploring these materials, we are literally and figuratively gaining a lens through which to observe a lost society.”
The Wende Museum was founded by Justinian Jampol in 2002 with a mission to preserve the cultural artifacts and personal histories of Cold War-era Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. “Evidence of this critical period in world history is quickly disappearing,” says Jampol. “The Museum is positioning itself to respond to the needs of researchers and meet its strategic goals by making more widely available its audiovisual collections that are key sources for scholarship about the 20th century.”
The Wende Museum is located at 5741 Buckingham Parkway. The Museum is open to the public every Friday from 10am to 5pm. Admission is free.