The difference between a single physical site of memory and the digital one is the quantity of stories and artifacts that can be gathered, retained and shared. The physical museum obviously has its limitations in space and resources but in the case of the 9/11 Digital Archive the possibilities can expand and allow more than just a handful of stories. Additionally the public has been given rights to include their voice from where ever that may be. I say this because as a New Yorker my peers and I tend to focus first on the towers but there were stories from the Pentagon and from the surviving families of those in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Even little Suzy from small town Oklahoma can have her say on where she was when we were attacked, proving everyone’s voice counts. The additional value of this archive is hearing the voices of the often-silent participants who work as curators, historians, media specialist and technology professionals who cooperated on the design.
Especially touching were the voices of 9.11 here is New York link, watching these interviews taking place within the year following the event was hard to step away from and presented raw details.
The 9/11 archive project reminds me of an organization named the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience who constructs sites of memory for social justice. Most recognizable is the Lower East Side Tenement Museum but they are working on the Remembering Guantamo project where they hope to transform the old prison into a space of memory in Cuba. About a year ago they were putting together an archive where narratives and photos would be used digitally not sure if it is complete yet. In this case going digital has its advantages because not many Americans would be able to make a trip to Cuba but I argue that a physical location is still necessary in many ways and won’t be dismissed anytime soon. Additionally sites of memory are not only going digital for sharing information but for fundraising purposes in order to eventually produce a physical location with the narratives and artifacts collected. I wonder if the archive was used to raise funds for the actual site in the case of 9/11?
Here is the link to the ICSOC http://www.sitesofconscience.org/categories/activities/guantanamo
Kathryn noted on her blog piece that she referred her teacher friend to use this as a tool for instruction with young people. Using this resource could only enrich the routine classroom curriculum for young people far beyond the two-page dedication in a textbook.