In an effort to collect, preserve, and present the stories and digital record of Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma, The Center for History and New Media has launched the Hurricane Digital Memory Bank. A collaboration with the University of New Orleans, the Hurricane Digital Memory Bank brings together a diverse network of regional and national partners including the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History and the Louisiana State Museum to collect and preserve first-hand accounts, on-scene images, blog postings, podcasts, and other digital materials related to the devastating Gulf Coast storms of 2005. In addition to aiding historical efforts, the Hurricane Digital Memory Bank aims to foster some positive legacies by allowing the people affected by these storms to tell their stories in their own words, which as part of the historical record will remain accessible to a wide audience for generations to come.
Funded by a generous grant by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Hurricane Digital Memory Bank builds on prior work by the Center for History and New Media and other partners to collect and preserve history online, especially through the Echo: Exploring and Collecting History Online – Science, Technology, Industry project and the September 11 Digital Archive. It is part of a growing practice of using the Internet to preserve the past through “digital memory banks.”