This piece was first published on The Arty Semite blog at the Forward.
“I’m interested in pushing young people to get involved, to take ownership of history,” declared Zev Moses, founder and director of the Interactive Museum of Jewish Montreal.
For Moses, this means getting people out into the original Jewish neighborhoods of Montreal for an “immersive experience” that combines computer technology with actual visits to historic sites.
“People have called it a ‘virtual museum,’ but that’s a misnomer,” Moses explained in a phone interview with The Arty Semite. The IMJM has collected a trove of archival photographs, oral history recordings, musical recordings, and films about the 250-year-old community that can be enjoyed online from anywhere. But the optimal situation is for people to access these resources through their mobile devices as they physically stand at the locations (IMJM calls them “exhibits”) that the information is meant to illuminate.
Moses and Stephanie Schwartz, IMJM’s research director, are working with their staff of 10 student researchers and project coordinators to curate the museum’s material into tours that highlight specific subjects. The only tour so far (and the only portion of the IMJM website that is currently mobile browser-compatible) is called “Between These Walls: Hidden Sounds of Hazzanut in Montreal,” focusing on cantors who sang at downtown synagogues between 1934 and 1965.
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© 2013 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.