In Denmark, more than 500 local history archives are collecting historical images, documents and recollections. VELUX FONDEN contributes financially so that the many active senior citizens who staff the archives can ensure that the records are saved and preserved digitally for posterity.
 

The many small local history archives are dotted around Denmark, some staffed by a single employee, others operated solely by volunteers – typically historically-minded senior citizens. 
All of the archives play a crucial role in accomplishing the transfer of their collected materials to digital platforms on which they can be stored and preserved securely for posterity and, to a large extent, also made available here and now for online access. Some four or five years ago, the A.P. Møller Foundation funded the creation of the digital platform www.arkiv.dk, which is a comprehensive website that allows the public to perform online searches in what has become a substantial collection of records. The growing site at www.arkiv.dk is already visited by around 5,000 users daily, and has generated more than 86 million page views since it went live in February 2015.

Proud shipyard history compiled and recounted by volunteer record keepers

From Hirtshals in the north to Ulfborg on South Lolland and from Esbjerg in the west, to Køge in the east, senior citizens are busy preserving recollections for posterity at arkiv.dk.

Digital donkey work

 

For two years now, VELUX FONDEN has helped to fund efforts under a partnership agreement with SLA, the national coalition of local history archives, to which active senior citizens can apply for funding to learn how to archive, scan, record and document, and thus contribute to the large task of digitising all the material.

SLA liaises with the staff and volunteers, helping them to complete applications to VELUX FONDEN, the board of which then considers their eligibility for a grant.

 

Thorough and systematic efforts preserved Veng for posterity
Comprehensive documentation of our common history
 

The funding amounted to a total of 107  grants out of 129 applications in the period from January 2017 to summer 2018. The senior citizens typically apply for funds to cover the cost of a scanner or other technical equipment. SLA and groups of local history archives host courses nationwide where attendees can take five modules over two days to train them for archival work.

Jørgen Thomsen, City Records Officer,  Odense City Archives, who chairs the SLA, comments as follows on the training and the many active senior citizens: ”There is a great need for training all the time. Senior citizens are obviously a group with some degree of turnover among them. But it is immensely rewarding to instruct these hale and hearty senior citizens, who are so keen on the project. It is a privilege for me to do the rounds and feel their dedication.

"When such a large number of active senior citizens do their bit to preserve our collective history, they become a vital part of the glue that binds our society together."

Once a year, the Danish Ministry of Culture compiles statistics on the work accomplished by records offices across Denmark, including the SLA's affiliate archives.

Funding contributes to activities that benefit society

Frank Ulmer Jørgensen, Head of Programme, VELUX FONDEN, has this to say about the work and the partnership: ”This is really good example of how our funding can contribute to activities of value to society that benefit a great many people. 

Both the active senior citizens who are performing a beneficial and important task and devoting their energies to the project, and all of us who can avail ourselves of the pooled knowledge about our history and cultural heritage at a single click. 

Gathering so much knowledge through volunteering is unique. Compared with other countries, Denmark is possibly creating the most comprehensive digital documentation of its collective history.”

If you have any questions concerning applications and funding under the grant area 'Active senior citizens', please contact:

 

Frank Ulmer Jørgensen
Senior Adviser, Head of programme, VELUX FONDEN
Phone: 
+ 45 29 41 81 35

Thanks to Veng Local History Archive, Nakskov Local History Archive and www.arkiv.dk for the photos.