A project led by the Faculty of English at the University of Oxford is looking for contributions to a free online archive of family stories, anecdotes, memories and digitized objects relating to people’s experiences of the Second World War. Their Finest Hour, funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, aims to digitally collect stories and materials related to Britain's and the Commonwealth's role in the Second World War in order to preserve them and make them freely available to the public.
Led by Dr Stuart Lee of the Faculty of English, the project team will:
- Run a series of 'Digital Collection Days' at major museums, libraries and heritage centres across the UK and encourage people to bring war-related stories and materials – letters, photos, diaries, memorabilia, or just stories handed down from family members – for digitization
- Train an army of volunteers and support them in running their own collection events in village halls, community centres, faith centres, schools, colleges and elsewhere
- Capture people’s thoughts and reactions to the way the war is remembered today
- Offer an online archive to allow people to upload their objects and/or stories and memories remotely
- Preserve all the collected stories and objects in a free-to-use online archive that will be launched on 6 June 2024, the 80th anniversary of D-Day
Dr Stuart Lee said, “We’re delighted to be able to create this archive with memories of the Second World War. We know from previous projects that people have so many wonderful objects, photos, and anecdotes which have been passed down from family members which are at risk of getting lost or being forgotten. Our aim is to empower local communities to digitally preserve these stories and objects before they are lost to posterity.”
If you have stories or objects that you would like to contribute to the Their Finest Hour archive, you can upload them now. There will be a series of collection events taking place throughout the UK in 2023; keep an eye on the website for dates and details. You can also follow the project’s progress on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Dr Matthew Kidd, Project Manager