The National World War II Museum is making thousands of first-person soldiers’ accounts available online. Museum executives are creating a vast online collection of 9,000 existing oral and written histories and will take longer than the war was fought: 10 years and $11 million dollars. There’s more than 22,000 hours of audio and video to be handled, thousands of documents to be digitized and millions of words transcribed.
Ultimately, all these firsthand accounts of Pearl Harbor, the D-Day invasion, Germany’s surrender, Hiroshima, the home front and more will be online.
So far there are 4,000 staff-collected video oral histories, 3,000 video and audio recordings made by others, and nearly 2,000 “written histories” like journals and diaries that can be photographed, annotated and transcribed for online research.
The museum has allocated about $4.4 million for the project so far — about two-thirds from donations and grants, and the rest from the museum’s operating budget.