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Coronavirus entered our house silently and before we knew it, it changed our life. As we try to face the most serious crisis after the Second World War, following the #Istayathome imperative, the world of culture also wants to play its part (and it makes sense) .

Coronavirus and cultural initiatives

If before the definitive closure, museums, libraries and cultural institutions withstood the ministerial choices to the cry of #culturedoesnotstop, it seems that from March 9, when it all stopped, the slogan has taken on new strength together with #Istayathome.

collage di immagini disegni e mappe storiche
Collage of images to promote the World Digital Library taken from the UNESCO Facebook page

With a large part of the population in quarantine, online cultural initiatives have begun to flourish: from the sections on social networks to home concerts, from the guided visits of the directors of museums and archaeological sites to the readings of great actors. These initiatives are very important, especially considering that children from all over Italy are at home and are very skilled in using digital platforms. The hope is also that the “extra” time of the quarantine can paradoxically bring everyone a little closer to the world of culture.

UNESCO and its World Digital Library

Covid-19 is a pandemic: in this sense it put the entire world population together. So while humanity is facing or preparing to face the crisis, world institutions are also giving their answer. UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) for example, has made its Digital Library available for free. UNESCO and 32 partner institutions launched this digital library on April 21, 2009.

#Istayathome acquerello rappresentante canal grande a venezia con una gondola
Photochrom print that represents the Grand Canal in Venice. This document was downloaded from the World Digital Library (

Search 19,147 items about 193 countries between 8000 BCE and 2000is the writing that stands out in English as soon as the website opens. An immense virtual library of Alexandria, easy to consult, which puts before our eyes images from every corner of the world and from every era of history. In fact, the contributions come from institutions and universities all over the world and flow into this great world project established in 2009. We could not restrain ourselves and went to browse!

#Istayathome traveling among finds

The search within the site can be carried out in many ways: by typing a specific word, selecting a timeline, viewing interactive maps or browsing the proposed themes.

#iorestoacasa manoscritto antico con scritte e disegno astronomico
Galileo Galilei astronomical manuscript dated 1614-15. This document was downloaded from the World Digital Library (

Inside you will find everything: historical postcards, illuminated pages, state papers, ancient sheet music, historical prints and posters, hand-drawn maps, posters of cultural events, historical photographs, newspaper pages, memorabilia, manuscripts and even audio recordings from many different countries. Each find/item has a description card and can also be downloaded; it is also equipped with a list of related items that range from place to place, from era to era.

#istayathome world map
Planisphere drawn by Nicolaus Visscher in 1690. This document was downloaded from the World Digital Library (

We have trawled important testimonies of our Italian past and then chased the Silk Road to Japan to admire their colorful prints and calligraphy. And then again off to browse maps to discover the world view that our predecessors had, without our powerful means. All this traveling without betraying the #Istayathome message! However, we got to point out a difficulty: it is not possible to consult the Library in Italian. The images will be freely available for the duration of the emergency caused by Covid-19.


#Istayathome and UNESCO opens the World Digital Library ultima modifica: 2020-03-26T12:38:03+01:00 da Giorgia Favero