Stockholmskällan in English
Stockholmskällan is a website that enables you to walk in the footsteps of your predecessors, and to see the traces of history in letters, photos, police reports, maps, film, music, paintings and tips of literature – all geo-tagged and marked out on present day as well as historical maps.
What happened in the streets of Stockholm 50, 100 or 700 years ago? The answer is in your smartphone. Stockholmskällan tells the history of the City and its citizens through texts, sound clips and pictures. The combination of different types of artefacts clearly shows how Stockholm evolves - the city has been constantly growing from migration during more than 800 years.
Museums, archives, libraries and schools in collaboration
Stockholmskällan is a collaboration between the Stockholm City Museum, the Stockholm City Archive, the Stockholm City Library and the City of Stockholm Administration of Education. The aim is to enable digitised historical artefacts to the public in general, and especially to schools in order to make it easier to use primary sources when teaching history.
At present the database holds more than 30,000 individual posts from the following institutions:
- August Strindberg Museum
- Centre for Business History
- K.A. Almgren's Silk Factory and Museum
- Litographic Museum
- National Library of Sweden
- Prince Eugen’s Waldemarsudde
- Region Stockholm Archive
- Stockholm Transport Museum
- Swedish Labour Movement's Archives and Library
- Swedish National Heritage Board
- The National Museums of World Culture.
- The Riksbank Archive
- The Thiel Gallery
Through Stockholmskällan these posts are made visible and usable: The website has about 1 million individual visitors annually.
Micro and macro perspectives give a richer picture
The aim of Stockholmskällan is to add on to the general history as it is presented in most history books, by making available some of the specific, micro level stories and fragments that together form the bigger picture, the general history. In Stockholmskällan, the history books’ general history at macro level intersect with micro-level stories through a combination of texts, photographs, artwork, maps and other types of digitised historical primary sources.
Stockholmskällan, with its 30,000 historical primary sources, does not claim nor intend to provide a full coverage of Stockholm's history. However, through the documents and images in the database, it is possible to add specific details to the greater, general story. Listening to the many voices of everyday life experiences in past times through texts, pictures, music or documented artefacts bring history closer to us. Life comes bustling out of the archives!
Explanatory example: Sweden becomes a democracy
For example: In history books the process of turning Sweden into a democratic society is most often presented simply as a timeline with a fairly short list of dates: The establishment of a two chamber parliament in 1866, the mass strike and the general suffrage for men in 1909, and the general and equal suffrage for both women and men in 1919. Short and concise, this gives an overview of the milestones of the development - but not much information about the people, activities, thoughts, choices and whereabouts that formed that process.
Through Stockholmskällan, the micro-level stories give greater nuance to the general history at macro level, thus contributing to a greater historical understanding. We simply get closer to the actual historical conditions and realities if we also take part of some of the specific details in history. There are newspaper reports on mass demonstration for general suffrage in Stockholm in April 1902; pamphlets presenting arguments both in favour of the reforms and against; police reports on arrested supporters of the vote days after, containing quotes of private citizens for whom this struggle was part of their reality.
These are fragments of history, remains of the process of developing democracy in Sweden. Specific examples like these are often left out when telling the general story - but a valuable complement to the timeline summary of democratic development mentioned above. Historical primary sources, available through Stockholmskällan, contribute to that general story, adding on information about the process behind the stops on a timeline. The primary sources give us a sneak peek into the historic daily lives of many.