Starting the “Their Finest Hour” Internship

View of Edinburgh Castle, in black and white, with some people walking in the foreground

In July 2022, the University of Oxford launched a digital preservation project; to collate as many World War Two stories and objects as possible across the UK.

The scheme, called Their Finest Hour, trains individuals to organise ‘Digital Collection Days’ in their local communities, where members of the public can bring war-related memories, photographs, diaries and any other remnants of the War to be digitised and uploaded to an open licensed online archive. The project has plans for collection days in dozens of locations across the UK, from Cornwall to Fort William, and London to Belfast.

My name is Eden Swimer, I’ve just finished my third year studying History, and I will be working over the next six months under the supervision of Lorna Campbell, for Edinburgh University’s Open Educational Resources (OER) team, to organise an Edinburgh ‘Digital Collection Day’ for Their Finest Hour.

I will be aiming to organise a Collection Day that will take place in November 2023. Organising the event will require much logistical consideration; from recruiting and training volunteers who can help with ‘collecting’ stories and objects to promoting the event across the city.

Another key part of my internship will include creating an OER focusing on a part of Their Finest Hour for use in schools across Scotland. Lorna and I are currently thinking that the educational resource could either lean towards exploring the World War Two content that we digitally archive on the Collection Day, or on Their Finest Hour’s community-focused approach towards collecting history.

Over the next few months, I will be contacting and coordinating with Edinburgh-based teachers to develop an educational resource that works for the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence and for Edinburgh schools.

Whilst having some experience as a tutor in England, I am unfamiliar with the Scottish Curriculum and I have never had the opportunity to develop resources that could be used in schools. I am looking forward to tailoring the OER around my passions as a History student, and learning how to create successful lesson plans.

My internship promises community-focused activity throughout; contributing to an online archive of World War Two memories and physical remnants that is accessible to all, as well as working with schools to develop a free-to-use resource to stimulate broader excitement about Their Finest Hour. I couldn’t be more excited to get started.


Header Image: View of Edinburgh Castle, November 1943, public domain image from the State Archives of North Carolina on Flickr Commons.