History Management in Public Space – How to Support Contemporary Reenactment in Poland to Preserve its Historical and Educational Value

Abstract :

Interest in the concept of Public History in Polish research[1] has been becoming more and more noticeable for several years. Thus, it reflects the development of this phenomenon abroad[2], where there is an increase in initiatives to promote historical themes. The story becomes present in social media, where it is disseminated to a wide range of interested parties in various interesting ways via websites such as YouTube[3]. In many cases, these channels are very professional and successfully serve as additional educational material. In this case, especially young people are the main and demanding reception that postulates for an interesting, multimedia and interactive form of communication. At the same time, history becomes present in many TV programs and channels. Increasingly, the lot of many TV series and movies is set in the past. Internet own productions in some gaining popularity stations and rentals such as HBO, Netflix Inc., etc. again and again fund their viewers educational entertainment in the form of historical documents or production, or whose script is based on actual events, biographies of famous people whose actions take place in the former historical space. An example could be "Chernobyl" popular among Polish audiences, the Golden Globe winner in the best limited series or television movie category, and Emmy Awards for the best limited series. On the largest and most visited Polish film site Filmweb[4] it was rated by consumers at 9.0. on a scale of 1.0-10.0. History's activity in the media and in the virtual world also applies to computer games[5], in which the created world, often, even if it does not reflect historical facts directly, is built on solid foundations, which provide historical knowledge, and what's more, it makes sense. One of the best Polish products of recent years can be used as an example: the game The Witcher 3 The Wild Hunt, the label of the CD Project Home capital group. Its success was so huge that in 2019 CD Project was one of the highest-rated Polish companies on the Warsaw Stock Exchange. The game is a creation of a fantastic world, however, following the article by P. Jankowski on historical foundations in relation to the fiction of the virtual universe, the fact that its foundations create representations of real world societies from the past is clearly visible[6]. Until recently, ossified and not very public friendly places are turning into real centers of culture and education. Museums, archives and libraries are experiencing renaissance today. A world that our parents’ generation still admired only through the glass, or which they often did not have access to, becomes available not only digitally, but also at your fingertips. Museums and libraries have become specialized places of not only historical education for contemporary recipients[7].

[1] See among others: J. Wojdon (ed.), Historia w przestrzeni publicznej, Warszawa 2018, idem, Public history, czyli historia w przestrzeni publicznej, ?Klio. Czasopismo po?wi?cone dziejom Polski i powszechnym”, t.34 (3)/2015, pp. 25-41; T. Szlendak, J. Nowiński, K. Olechnicki, A. Karwacki, W.J. Burszta, Dziedzictwo w akcji. Rekonstrukcja historyczna jako sposób uczestnictwa w kulturze, Warszawa 2012; W. Burszta, Upami?tnianie jako forma praktyki kulturowej [in:] A.W. Brzezińska, M. Fabiszak, M. Owsiński (ed.), Znaki (nie)pami?ci. Teoria i praktyka upami?tniania w Polsce, Kraków 2016, pp. 15-27; R. Traba, Historia stosowana jako subdyscyplina akademicka. Konteksty i propozycje [in:] E. Domańska, R. Stobiecki, T. Wi?licz (ed.), Historia – dzi?. Teoretyczne problemy wiedzy o przesz?o?ci, Kraków 2014; K. Deskur, Idea public archeology – edukacja archeologiczna i popularyzacja archeologii, ”Fontes Archaeologici Posnanienses”, t. 45, pp. 283-292; M. ?eznik, M. Saryusz Wolskiej, S. Stach, K. Stoll (ed.), Historia w kulturze ponowoczesnej. Koncepcje-metody-perspektywy badawcze, Kraków 2017.

[2] See among others: F. Sayer, Public History: A Practical Guide, London 2015; D. Dean, A Companion to Public History, Hoboken 2018; T. Cauvin, Public history. A texbook of practice, New York – London 2016.

[3]e.g.”History without censorship”, ”History in 5 minutes”, ”Good Idea. Rados?aw Gajda & Natalia Szcze?niak”.

[4] https://www.filmweb.pl/

[5]e.g: Assasin’s Creed (serie Europa Universalis since 2001), Civilization (serie since 1991), Total War (serie since 2000).

[6] P. Jankowski, Rze? Cintry i Wielkie Rody Redanii historycznymi fundamentami fikcyjnego ?wiata. Gdzie kończy si? historia, a zaczyna fikcja w tekstach popkultury [in:] Gra w histori?, historia w grach, pp. 19.

[7] An example would be: Museum of the History of Polish Jews POLIN in Warsaw, Silesian Museum in Katowice, History Center Zajezdnia.