The Museum of the Person - Overview

Museum of the Person was born in Brazil, São Paulo, in 1991, created by a group of historians who decided to build the country’s history using testimonials of ordinary people. This is a still alive project accessible at Museum of the Person aims at gathering testimonials from every human being, famous or anonymous, to perpetuate his history.

From the life stories of individuals, the objective is to write up the stories of families, communities, or institutions. This museum deals with common people, humam beings, not with the physical objects usually composing the traditional museum assets. Its “art collection” is made up of intangible or immaterial things.

In this case, the alive objects are used as informers, reporting the events and emotions they experienced. Actually, the narrators, to report their life stories during a predefined structured interview (tape or a film), remember events and other particular situations they have participated in. These memories will act as a basic element for social research, because the set of life stories allows to reconstruct a social universe.

What is the Núcleo Português do Museu da Pessoa?

The Núcleo Português do Museu da Pessoa is an initiative that began at the University of Minho in 1999, in close collaboration with the Museu da Person from Brazil, with two main objectives: on the one hand to concretize and support, in the field and on the Internet, life history collection projects, which will enrich and extend the collection that has been created by the Museu da Pessoa do Brasil ; On the other hand, to develop processes and programs that aim to explore in depth and in an automated way, the contents of life stories, through computer techniques related to document annotation.

In this way, it is intended in Portugal to launch several informatics initiatives related to document annotation.

In this way, it is intended in Portugal to launch several initiatives that allow us to give a renewed vision of certain communities, institutions or companies, or even of families and citizens.

The workflow adopted by Museum of the Person technicians to acquire common people life stories is expressed below:

  1. the report of a participant is recorded (audio or video) by an interviewer. Although every interview is a unique thing, interviewers guide to some predefined topics in order to cover the entire life story;
  2. interviews are transcribed;
  3. transcriptions are annotated in eXtensible Markup Language, marking events, self contained stories, etc.;
  4. XML interviews may be used to produce several outputs.

Life stories are evidences in support of facts or statements attested by common people carrying a social and historical character, which must be preserved and processed to become an immeasurable human heritage.

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Universidade do Minho