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Published: March 15, 2001.


The Museum-Of-The-Person 'dot' World
Thom Gillespie , Indiana University, USA
Jose Santos Matos , Museum of the Person, Brazil
Karen Worcman , Museum of the Person, Brazil
Jorge Gustavo Rocha , Universidade do Minho, Portugal

Session: Museum of the Person "dot" World

The purpose of this workshop is to develop the steps necessary to expand upon the work of the Museum of the Person in Brazil which has been a company since 1992 whose aim has been to collect, organize, preserve, and publish the life stories of ordinary people.

Philosophically, the purpose of the Museum of the Person is to create the possibility of preserving, and turning the life history of each and every person in Brazil into a widely accessible information source.

These concepts and methods developed by the Museum were inspired by the oral history movement led by Paul Thompson (1978), which considers oral history an instrument allowing anonymous people to become part of history.

Originally, the Museum worked in text, video, and CD-ROM. In 1997, the Museum created a Web site to allow anyone in Brazil to add his or her biography together with associated multimedia, to have their life stories preserved on the Web.

The idea of establishing a 'museum' that preserves 'people's life stories' forced the Museum to reconsider the standard idea of 'place. Since there are many people, and their voices are non-material the 'place' to gather their stories had to be a 'virtual' place such as the web and not a physical place such as a traditional walled museum. Once the web became the museum of the person the original concept of the Brazilian story naturally expands to the stories of all people connected to the web which means to the world, to the MuseumOfThePersonworld.

The facilitators of this workshop will be:

Karen Worcman, the Museum of the Person, Brazil

Jose Santos Matos, the Museum of the Person, Brazil

Jorge Gustavo Rocha, Universidade do Minho, Portugal

Thom Gillespie, Indiana University, USA

The structure of the workshop will be to introduce the working 'concept' of the Museum of the Person as it has developed and currently exists in Brazil. We will then consider the possibilities of the Museum of the Person from the individual cultural and economic constraints of the cultures of the workshop attendees, brain storming extensions to the Brazilian experiment. We will break into work groups to create scenarios of local development which can 'franchise' the idea locally but connect back to a create w worldwide Museum of the Person. Particular attention will be directed toward the issues of standards which would be needed to share very different cultural information and to possible economic scenarios for sustainable development of Museum of the Person on a worldwide scale, essentially a portal for personal, unfiltered human history.

A working document will be developed which will then be presented as a panel discussion for the general membership of the conference.

This proposal is essential for a workshop which would also be a panel presentation.

Our audience would be any individuals and/or organizations already working in personal history or interested in beginning work in personal history and interested in developing the MuseumOfThePersonworld