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  An historical recollection of the french Resistance movement

Proposal for the Creation of a National Online Museum of the French Resistance

(Resistance Abroad and in the different regions of France, 1940-1945)



The AERI has worked for several years to produce CD-ROMs about the local resistance movement (1).Within this framework, there are many documents (posters, leaflets, underground newspapers, photographs, etc.), audio archives, and live footage. Thanks to the work of researchers and historians throughout France, we have compiled a base of important documents which make up the beginning of, and constitute a starting point for, the teams working in each different region.

In cooperation with the National Resistance Museum in Champigny-sur-Marne and in close partnership with the Resistance Foundation, we have created a National Online Resistance Museum (Resistance Abroad and in the different regions of France, from 1940 to 1945).

« You don't have to go to the museum, it's the museum that comes to you »


  • Make an extensive and copmprehensive virtual collection of the French Resistance and Deportation materials immediately and permanently available
  • To set our heritage free from the constraints of conservation in order to render the presentation of the documents more dynamic and more interactive, but without giving up the historical rigor and quality of the museum; moreover, the absence of physical constraints permits the perpetual enrichment of the collection through various approaches and methods.
  • Put the full range of research on the history of the Resistance and Deportation at public disposal, and give them the tools to continue such research on their own
  • H elp with the development of all public and private collections on the history of the resistance and deportation, in existence or in progress; ensure their complementarity, their coherence, and their interaction, specifically across national, regional, or departmental boundaries for these permanent or temporary exhibits.
  • Put at the disposal of the educational community (national and public education) the tools and the teaching styles for different audiences, especially for applications to the Concours national de la Résistance et la Déportation (a coucours is something like a competition; students from elementary through high school spend a year learning about a certain subject, the Resistance in this case, and take a final exam at the end of their period of study); extending beyond basic knowledge and know-how, the museum's main concern is to recall and spread the values of the Resistance and the experience of the Deportation.

A resource for Safeguarding the documents from the Resistance and Deportation:

In departments that don't have a local museum, the virtual museum will provide an online presentation of their collections. This will favor the collections from these departments, which will perhaps alleviate the collectors' frustrations, as they sometimes interpret researchers' inability to view the documents and archives as a lack of interest.

This is also a good oportunity to learn about the rich collections of existing museums, since the virtual museum will avoid showing the same containers, weapons, posters, and underground newspapers as other « virtual museums. » Archives and objects will be presented from each department, including local underground posters and newspapers, objects that belonged to a member of the Resistance and that have historical significance, etc.

For all of these reasons, the online museum aims to promote the making of a catalogue of these Resistance and Deportation documents from each department; the actual objects will be under the direction of local establishments (museums, communal archives or departments, etc.) in order to ensure their protection and conservation.

A Complete Website:

Just like a physical museum, the National Online Resistance Museum will have a permanent collection organized into the following categories: Resistance Abroad, the Resistance in France, and the Resistance by Region; there will also be temporary exhibits which will complement the permanent collection and will be presented in a different manner; a center for documents, which will make the documents in the exhibits directly accessible, and a catalogue of the available sources in order to encourage research and donations to the project.

But the National Online Resistance Museum is also intended to be a teaching resource for instructors and their students, at first to facilitate a basic understanding of the history of the Resistance and then to supplement their learning. The main objective is to help instructors and their students, at the elementary, middle, and high school levels, to learn about the history of the Resistance through oral recollections and authentic documents and in an accessible and thorough fashion. This will add a human element to the study of World War II when it is introduced in school programs. One section is dedicated to the Concours national de la Résistance et de le Déportation; this will facilitate online research and collaboration with other groups that participate in the concours. The ultimate goal is to render the concours as attractive as possible.

This instructional space will be augmented by workshops intended to inspire internet users to find information on their own using the online museum, and to interpret the selections according to their own criteria. There will also be a section for examining the role of cinema between 1940 and 1945, and this will also encourage a critical understanding of the images and events. Also, there will be a forum for debate.

The project is already supported by the Resistance Foundation, under the direction of the Museums of France, the National Archives, the DMPA, the DRAC Ile-de-France; the INA, the Museum of the Order of the Liberation, the Charles de Gaulle Foundation, the Regional Council of Provence-Alpes-Côte-d'Azur . . .

(1) We have already published CD-ROMs about l’Oise, la Corse, l’Yonne, le Calvados, l’Ardèche, la Manche, la Haute-Marne, l’Ile-de-France (8 departments), la Charente, l’Indre-et-Loire, l’Orne, la Lozère, la Haute-Savoie. Soon, we will be publishing la Drôme (which includes le Vercors), le Doubs, l'Aube…

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