Understanding WWII Through Digital Tools

History is a field which constantly appears on social media. Historians, specialists, and museums try to generate discussions by using digital tools, new technology, and engaging networking to present, examine, inform major historical events, especially among young people. This webinar examines the celebration of the end of WWII and the use of digital tools in the representation, remembrance, and understanding of WWII.

Key points by Ioanna Georgia Eskiadi:

History and museums are institutions which needed to change significantly during the pandemic in order to reach their audiences. The pandemic led to the use of digital tools for attracting familiar audiences and reaching new ones. Historians, specialists, and museums try to generate discussions by using digital tools, new technology, and engaging networking to present, examine, and inform major historical events, especially among young people. It is especially important to encourage storytelling for social impact in history and, more specifically, to discuss historical issues and digital space representations. History is an issue that is at the core of our society as a mechanism of remembrance and the continuation of democratic values and freedom of speech.

Digital tools specific to WWII have been used for the celebration of its conclusion, representation, remembrance, and understanding. The technology during the pandemic has benefited the second world war museum in Gdansk of Poland as all of the museum’s activities had to be moved online. Since the directors of the museum started to examine ways to spread their narrative and reach possible visitors of varying social profiles and ages. Another aim was to reach young people through their digital projects who otherwise weren’t interested to history. The educational and promotional activities implemented online to sustain the museum mission of promoting history of WWII were achieved by digital content published daily and projects sorted into thematic cycles. The main objective was to generate ongoing interest in the history of WWIII, seeking a desired increase in the number of visitors to the real museum after the pandemic period. The content distribution strategy was developed in line with the latest digital technology advances. Their social media targeting communication strategy was implemented with a pre-launch of extensive digital market research carried out in the beginning of 2020. Further, they implemented a multichannel marketing automation system and single customer profiles. The aim was to create thematic cycles, so as to focus the content to special groups for any age, until finally they had created 20 thematic cycles. The online content included the museum’s current activities, presentations of Polish heroes, audio broadcasting, concerts, scientific conferences, and film content. Eventually, they had 35.000.000 individual user engagements for thematic cycles in #M2WSwirtuainie. The aim was not only to reach the possible visitors but also to increase their range.

Through the innovative use of technology, the digital content designed by the Museum of WWII in Gdansk encourages people to learn history, reaching out to various age groups with different sensitivity levels of historical knowledge. The wide spectrum of recipients from different backgrounds created the need for new forms of communication. Their suggestion: communication methods must be adjusted to the recipient’s sensitivity and adapted to the experiences of contemporary culture audiences. The goal is to convey historical knowledge in an accessible way while maintaining high historical value. This has been achieved through innovative projects, some of which are designed for the digitalization of the museum’s collections and exhibitions, and contain three lessons based on a virtual tour of the museum exhibits, online platforms, and educational tour. Their aim is to promote and sustain the national and regional cultural heritage.

The discussion

-Aneta Hoffmann, editor-in-chief of Polska360.org portal and coordinator of educational projects of Foundation for Help and Polish Ties “Kresy RP”, Warsaw, Poland
-Karol Szejko, head of the International Relations Department at the Museum of the Second World War in Gdansk
-Karol Polejowski, PhD, Hab, Deputy Manager of the Research and Education Department of the Museum of the Second World War in Gdansk

-Sandra Užule-Fons, Ph.D., historian, documentary filmmaker, lecturer at University of Warsaw, Acting Head of the Unit of Polish-Baltic Cultural Relations
-Dr. Nikos S. Panagiotou, Associate Professor, School of Journalism & Mass Communications, Aristotle University, Head of DCN Global

This event is co-organized by University of Warsaw (Baltic Studies), Digital Communication Network (South East Europe HUB) and World Learning and is part of DCNSEE’s Ideas in Action — Digital Engagement, a series of virtual events launched in the context of the COVID-19 crisis.

DCN is supported by the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Citizen Exchanges. Digital Communication Network created in 2015, is a 7.000 member strong collaborative network that connects professionals from a variety of fields and different regions of the world, committed to have an impact in the new information space.

http://digicomnet.org is an international association connecting professionals of the digital age to generate ideas, tools, products for media, NGO & government