In the constantly changing world in which we live museums, archives and history societies are being continually confronted by new challenges. Even when dealing with history, you cannot afford to pause for breath: you have to look for new ways to do things, especially when it comes to communication. As a result, museums, archives and history societies are continually developing new methods and options for communicating historical content. At the heart of the project’s "virtual history forum" is the presentation and communication of local historical content via the Internet.
The virtual history forum was developed as a model for presenting historical themes in a new and innovative way. Out of the virtual history forum arose a large-scale online encyclopedia, which is proving exemplary in many different ways. The contents can be made available to interested parties way beyond the national boundaries. For museums, archives and history societies the tool is proving a valuable asset in their work. In addition, the issues discussed make an extremely valuable basis for regional development, community decision making, the tourism industry, educational establishments and numerous other fields.
The formation of the virtual history forum called for a rethinking of our cultural heritage, both material and non-material. The primary focus, it must be said, is on photographic archives, for historical photos give a unique insight into cultural development. The material cultural heritage of each of the participating regions is brought together by means of targeted research work in archives and libraries as well as by the adoption of private collections. The establishment of regional biographies as well as targeted research into relevant newspapers or magazines provides an important basis for future (pre)scientific work. Non-material cultural contributions are provided by comprehensive interviews with contemporary witnesses. Thanks to activities by participating institutions, as well associated measures to raise our profile, public awareness has been much enhanced, and the virtual history forum is now able to obtain information from sources which have been hitherto inaccessible.
The history of skiing is excellently suited to the development of such an exemplary project, since in this respect Vorarlberg and the neighbouring Allgäu have many aspects in common. The topic "Skiing and winter tourism", which is of crucial importance for the regions participating in the project, should be the subject of further scientifically funded processing. It can thus be shown just how far the sport of skiing may be considered part of our cultural heritage, and its role in contributing to social and economical development. The institutions participating in the project, be it museums, archives or history societies, all make an important contribution to raising the profile of our common natural and in particular cultural heritage.
The project is being financed by the European Union, Interreg Alpenrhein/Bodensee/Hochrhein and the following project partners: