The Patagonia Mosaic is an initiative
of recuperation, preservation and diffusion of the historic experience
of the community of Comodoro Rivadavia and its zone of influence,
together with its regional, national and international connections.
It is a multifaceted project that includes: the
investigation, teaching, digitalization of documentary and photographic
patrimony; the oral and videographic registry of life histories
and historic testimonies; and preservation of the collective memory
– activities vital to cultural exchange and community extension.
By looking deep into local and regional character, the Patagonia
Mosaic aims also to connect to wider national and international
study in areas of settlement, migration, and family history.
This ambitious educational undertaking has been
begun under the auspices of Dickinson
College (Carlisle, Pennsylvania, USA) and the Universidad
Nacional de la Patagonia “San Juan Bosco” (Comodoro
Rivadavia, Argentina), together with the essential support of
the community of Comodoro Rivadavia. At Dickinson College, a forward
looking liberal arts undergraduate institution, this project enmeshes
itself in the work of the Community Studies Center (CSC)
and the Dickinson Electronic Initiative in the Liberal Arts (DEILA).
The Patagonia Mosaic is also very grateful for
the support of the Office
of Global Education at Dickinson.
The results of the project so far illustrates the
collaboration between professors, students, members of the intermediary
institutions of Comodoro Rivadavia (Federation of Foreign Communities,
mutual aid societies, neighborhood groups and community centers,
etc.), various archives and libraries, and, in particular, the
residents of the area that share their histories with us and put
at our disposal personal and family collections to be preserved
and distributed, thus enriching the collective memory and history
of the region.
At present, there have been three main research
experiences and cultural exchanges. During each January of 2001
and 2003 and 2005, a group of students and professors of Dickinson
College and the UNPSJB, with the collaboration of the Federation
of Foreign Communities and host families, participated in research
and study in Comodoro Rivadavia. Among other activities, the work
in local archives, the recording of oral history interviews, the
digitalization of photographic material and other documents from
archives and family collections, and the photographic documentation
of various expressions of the memory of community identity stand
out. Each group from Dickinson College, along with a professor
and students from the UNPSJB, continued the cataloging, analysis
and diffusion of the material collected on their return to the
United States during one semester of study and research.
The results of these efforts are now at the disposal
of the community in the Patagonia Mosaic Virtual Museum
and Resource Center, accessible via this website from
anywhere in the world. The Virtual
Museum contains multimedia exhibits around central
themes in the history of the community of Comodoro Rivadavia and
its surrounding area, with special emphasis on its origin and
its multi-ethnic characteristics: migratory experiences, the work
of men and women, community life, family life, public memory,
the use of space in the oil company towns, etc. The Resource
Center contains complementary information and allows
access to the digitalized photographic and documentary collections.
Those interested have access to historic photographs of public
and private archives and to various minutes, pamphlets, programs,
letters, along with other private and public documents. Also available
is information regarding the oral history interviews in the Patagonia
Mosaic collection. For the future, the Center has begun
the construction of a virtual library with digital editions of
books and articles significant to the history of the region.
The collections available in the Virtual
Museum and Resource Center will be enlarged and enriched
with the results of future research projects and with the continuous
contributions of the community of Comodoro Rivadavia, its oil
company towns, the surrounding countryside and other nearby localities
tied to the zone.
We welcome questions, comments as well information
of interest for this project.