A first-of-its-kind, virtual interdisciplinary museum on the Spanish Civil War, developed by Trent History professor, Dr. Antonio Cazorla-Sanchez, alongside Dr. Adrian Shubert from York University and international collaborators, officially opened to online visitors following a launch event attended by distinguished guests including Spain's ambassador to Canada.
“The Virtual Museum of the Spanish Civil War is a reflection of Trent’s commitment to interdisciplinary, international collaboration and the digital humanities,” said Dr. Leo Groarke, president and vice-chancellor of Trent University. “The impressive result of the efforts of Professor Cazorla-Sanchez and his fellow researchers is an online tool which can mobilize knowledge in a way that makes it accessible from around the world.”
Celebrated at a special launch event at Trent University, the Virtual Museum of the Spanish Civil War is the first dedicated museum that gives a global explanation of the conflict from a variety of interdisciplinary perspectives including history, archaeology, digital humanities, literary and cultural studies. The project brings together scholars and experts from Trent University, York University, the SSHRC, and the University of Warwick, as well as the Embassy of Spain in Canada and Spain's Ministry of Culture and Sport.
Led by North America’s leading experts on contemporary Spanish history
Among the museum co-directors is Trent’s Prof. Antonio Cazorla-Sanchez, a long-time faculty member at the University, and one of North America’s leading experts on the Spanish Civil War and fascism. Prof. Cazorla-Sanchez was also the recipient of Trent University’s 2019/20 Distinguished Research Award.
“In many ways, the past is a foreign country. Through the visual elements of this museum, we are witnessing what people experienced in the moment. A way for visitors to immerse themselves in the mentalities of the people who experienced those events,” said Prof. Cazorla-Sanchez. “The big issues that were relevant in the Spanish Civil War [social justice, democracy, women’s rights, rights of minorities] remain relevant today.”
The museum has received international support from institutional partners, the Embassy of Spain in Canada, as well as more than $30,000 in funding from Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada through a Connections Grant.
"We are very proud of Professor Cazorla-Sanchez. This project is a result of fantastic teamwork," said His Excellency Alfredo Martinez Serrano, Spain's ambassador to Canada, who attended the launch at Trent. "The future depends on how we are able to humanize the digital revolution. This project allows us to go from memory to knowledge."
Innovated and hosted through Trent University’s Bata Library
Part of Trent University’s in-kind contribution to the project included support from the Library and Archives to develop and host the virtual museum, an example of the role that libraries and archives can play as an information resource and knowledge mobilizer. This allowed the project to benefit from the Library’s expertise in areas such as metadata, digital collections, and technology, with scholars and memory institutions on an international level.
“Each of the digital objects in this virtual museum allows visitors to interact with them alongside important contextual information that is presented in clear and accessible language,” shares Dwayne Collins, digital scholarship and innovation librarian at Trent. “As the project continues to develop, we’ll be able to develop different ways for visitors to explore the relationships between these objects and their connections to other repositories.”
Visitors are encouraged to explore the Virtual Museum for the Spanish Civil War at www.vscw.ca.