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14.03.2024 / Activities, News

A campaign of Communal Description of Photographs

A campaign of Communal Description of Photographs

It is the first initiative in Poland in which the public is invited to provide aid in identifying archival photos from the Museum collection. The Museum of Warsaw will present over 5,000 photos that to date have not yet been shown to the public. People will be able to describe them online on a platform specially dedicated for that purpose. The campaign will last until April 2024. Anyone who wishes to share their knowledge is most welcome to participate.                 

Do you know where this photo was taken?

Photography constitutes the largest part of the Museum of Warsaw’s collection. More and more negatives and prints are continually being digitized and described. Identifying individuals and places in the photographs requires knowledge and personal memory that artificial intelligence cannot replace. Therefore, the Museum invites its audience to participate in this initiative.

On 27 November, a platform will be launched where participants will be able to view and describe selected photos. The campaign has been conceived as a game – participants will earn points for each described photo, which they can then exchange for rewards.

Photos by the legends of Polish photography

Photos documenting the scale of postwar destruction of Warsaw and the city reconstruction after WWII taken by Leonard Jarzębski, Alfred Funkiewicz and Edward Hartwig—one of the most widely recognized Polish photographers—were selected for the campaign of Communal Description of Photographs. Hartwig’s slides from the period of political transformation in the 1990s also await identification. The photos by Alina Schtolz, landscape architect, taken during her study visit to China, are bound to pose a serious challenge for the public.                                                                                                

Describing the heritage together  

The campaign will take place on the Dutch platform Vele Handen, which translates to “many hands.” This is a unique crowdsourcing tool, facilitating the communal and grassroots sharing of knowledge. Originally used in the Netherlands, the platform will now be employed for the identification of works from the Museum of Warsaw’s collection within the campaign of Communal Description of Photographs.

Centre for Photography

Communal Description of Photographs is part of the program of the Centre for Photography, a new initiative of the Museum of Warsaw, whose main goal is to promote people’s interest in photography. As part of the Focus on Photography project, the Centre for Photography benefits from the financial support provided by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway within the framework of the EEA Grants and Norway Grants, as well as by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage.

How to participate in the campaign?

Register on the website: velehanden.nl.

Find the project „Communal Description of Photographs”.

Click ‘describe a photograph’.

You will see a randomly selected photo from the collection.

Start to describe it.

Key visual: Joanna Bębenek, in the background: fragment of a photo by Alfred Funkiewicz, On the Rink, February 1952, AN 1502/F, from the Museum of Warsaw collection