Wien Museum is looking for volunteers to decipher old postcards

Photo: © Wien Museum

The Wien Museum wants to make its postcard collection available to the public. Recently, it announced a competition for volunteers who would read, transcribe, and translate the texts if they are written in a foreign language.

The museum keeps about 2,000 topographical postcards with personal written messages. Of these, 250 cards are in languages other than German - English, Czech, Croatian, Hungarian, Slovenian, Slovak and Dutch.

The collection covers the period from 1885 to the recent past. Some cards simply say “Greetings from Vienna”. However, often the messages also contain historically valuable information and inform about the occasion for which the postcard was send. The senders tell about the most interesting and attractive for them places in the city. The tastes and the different types of communication in everyday life of the people of the last two centuries are thus revealed to the people of today.

The project will pay special attention to the addresses, the content of the messages and the method of sending. The texts will be kept in a museum file and then digitalised so that they will become available online to the public. The project will last one year, and the exhibition of the processed postcards is planned for 2023.

For a long time, museum workers and scientists were paying attention to the messages on the postcards only if they were part of the correspondence of celebrities. Now this type of epistolary work will be processed and available to anyone, and the scientists will be able to include it in their research.

All postcards are published on the museum's website at https://crowdsourcing.wienmuseum.at/. Here they can be sorted by time, language and status. All you need to access the project is to register with an email address.

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