As Americans across the United States kick off the 4th of July weekend, the “Summer of Monuments” campaign has launched an exciting photo contest focusing especially on Southern states whose history is underrepresented on Wikimedia Commons. These are a contiguous block of states extending from the East Coast to the middle of the country: Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Kansas.
At the forefront of this effort will be local historians, librarians, photographers and anyone else working passionately to preserve and analyze our culture. We are pleased that we can offer prizes to the best photographers and to the institution that contributes the most valuable collection. We also hope to demonstrate how Wikimedia Commons can be a valuable ally for historians—an amazing free resource for sharing and preserving their materials.
If all goes well, we can use our Monument momentum to develop Wikipedia even further in some of these less-digitized areas. We are seeking communities (be they interested in a specific location or in a theme, such as the civil rights movement) that we can support in their use of Wikipedia to catalogue and preserve the resources and information they value.
We are also calling all Wikipedians who live and work in these ten Southern states to join us in this project and to share with us their ideas for creatively expanding our collective encyclopedic project.
Happy summer, everybody!
Leo Zimmermann, Project Manager for Wikipedia Summer of Monuments, Wikimedia DC