"With us to the land of the sun": Children´s happiness as interpreted in 1960 © Kinderfreunde

A / Austrian Kinder- freunde: Topotheque online

On June 19, 2021, Archivist Martin Müller gave a captivating lecture at the opening of the Topotheque of the Österreichischen Kinderfreunde, an association founded 1908 which is committed to child welfare. Müller presented a firework of facts and stories, lifelines and discoveries with which he brought the development of Kinderfreunde and the Red Falcons to life. By the way: why was June 19th the opening day of this Topotheque? Simply because it is the anniversary of the re-establishment of the association, which were banned in fascist times.

After the virtual opening by Federal Managing Director Daniel Bohmann, Martin Müller showed, in addition to fascinating individual hits, how with good key words previously unexpected connections can be discovered.
The association describes the initial situation of the archive as follows: “Only Ernst Pürstinger had an understanding of how to get on top of things in the archive. For some time he has been supported by Martin Müller. Together they are now creating a new order. Unfortunately, the archive catalogs have been lost, but the pictures and films are neatly sorted and labeled in boxes. In order to make this treasure visible, we are now working it into our Topotheque.”

The usefulness of an electronic archive comes to the fore with terms that seem as simple as “activities, personalities”. Because there is only one sorting option in the analog archive, you have to decide whether to organize the inventory by photographer, by time, by event or by person. Or just leave individual holdings together and access them digitally. The quick search for an individual across all stocks is only possible electronically. See what an input like Kanitz or Bindel delivers, ranked by age. To leave the black and white world of old photographs, it is a good idea to simply search for “Plakat” (poster) – and a colorful mosaic will open up. Follow the development of graphics, colors and typography. Or how the child‘s view has changed over the decades. Or the change in the wording in the headlines. An exemplary topic structure makes the time travel through the past of the Kinderfreunde pretty easy: history at the push of a button.