For 95 years, the great archives and library of The YIVO Institute for Jewish Research have supplied scholars and researchers with information about the real life of the Jewish people of Eastern Europe and Russia. Through the YIVO Cernia Slovin Online Museum, YIVO can now share these treasures with the world through the life stories of actual individuals. Through these stories, supplemented with rare or unique artifacts, documents, photographs and books, we discover the richness and power of Jewish civilization of Eastern Europe and Russia but also the inner humanity of the people that links them to us and to all men and women around the world in every age. The central issue that guided the development of the project was understanding what defines a standalone online museum. We are used to seeing the digital presence of museums as an extension of a physical institution, usually focused on exploring existing on-site collections. But when a museum exists only online, as is the case of the YIVO Bruce and Francesca Cernia Slovin Online Museum, do the same principles apply? This led to rethinking the concept of an online museum. How can the behavior of users in digital environments be leveraged to make digital exhibitions more engaging? What can only be done effectively online? From the answers to these questions emerged the framework of the YIVO Cernia Slovin Online Museum. Taking advantage of a medium that is ideal for storytelling and a multiplicity of interactive experiences, the exhibitions of the online museum are narratives based on the life of a person told through a combination of different archival objects, written text, animations, videos, interactive 3D environments, games, and more. These narratives contextualize the artifacts from the archives and show the importance of conservation and archival work. Personal stories are the thread that connects and presents different topics of Jewish life in Eastern Europe. All stories are broken into chapters. Each focuses on a specific topic – a series of experiences that visitors can undergo as a whole or individually.
Public Service & Activism