On 23 March, several Dutch Time Machines came together in the public library “De Chocoladefabriek” in Gouda. The aim of this unique come-together was to search for possibilities of closer collaboration between the different time machines and to make a start with a knowledge exchange, which we can all benefit from. The Amsterdam Time Machine, the Gouda Time Machine, the Utrecht Time Machine and the Limburg Time Machine (AEZEL) were present, as were many different (professional) enthusiasts, heritage and archival organizations and other interested parties. In the first part of the afternoon, all present time machines extensively presented their projects and visions. After this first enlightening programm element, we went on to collaborate in two different workshops. Half of the attendees brainstormed around the question of (technical) knowledge exchange. We all work with linked open data, user applications and a certain infrastructure, but we have different systems and visions to realize our time machines. We discussed the possibilities of having future exchange sessions in which the different organizations give workshops about their methods, to see if it would benefit all time machines.
In the other room, we discussed the topic of partnerships more broadly. How can we join together to gain more public attention, for example in the news? What would be the benefit of that? We did this by seeking overlapping historical themes, that also have broad societal implications nowadays. Themes that quickly came to mind were climate change, water management, living conditions and crises. It would be an interesting angle to study and map one of these themes collectively, transcending the city – or in the case of Limburg – provincial borders to tell a larger story. After the presentations and the workshops, there was the opportunity to further engage in lively conversations during an informal drinks. We look back at a very fruitful and interesting day and we look forward to the next national time machine event, which will probably take place in November.
Nynke Anna van der Mark, March 2023