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British Library reconnects historical recordings with SI

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British High Commissioner to Solomon Islands Thomas Coward handed over the kit to Museum Deputy Director Lawrence Kiko
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The British Library reconnects historical recordings of cultural songs and stories to the people of Solomon Islands through the National Museum.

Under the True Echoes project, the British Library and Solomon Islands National Museum (SINM) have co-researched digitised wax cylinder recordings from the British Library collection that were made in Solomon Islands between 1908 and 1914.

These recordings contain significant music, stories, speeches as important cultural records. These document the oral traditions, cultural rituals, and history of Simbo, Rannonga and across Malaita.

Through the True Echoes project, the British Library has donated audio equipment to SINM to make these digital recordings accessible to the people of Solomon Islands.

The British High Commissioner to Solomon Islands His Excellency Thomas Coward presented the equipment to Deputy Director of SINM, Lawrence Kiko, who upon receiving the kit, said:

“The museum is so thankful to receive the equipment as it will certainly enhance recording on both culture and historical stories around focus communities in Solomon Islands through the True Echoes Participatory research project in partnership with the British Library and the Solomon Islands National Museum. Thanks to the British High Commissioner, His Excellency Thomas Coward, for his moral support towards the project. The equipment handover this morning marks another milestone in the development of cultural preservation programs in terms of digitizing and playback of the numerous collections of tapes deposited by researchers many years ago.”

Principal Investigator on the True Echoes project at the British Library, Isobel Clouter, said:

“The aims of the True Echoes project were to share intangible cultural heritage and reconnect the rich archival sources held by the British Library and other UK institutions with communities, researchers, and peer institutions across the Pacific region. We are grateful to the UK High Commission in the Solomon Islands for their continued support of the True Echoes Project and are delighted to donate this audio equipment to the Solomon Islands National Museum as a way of supporting long-term access to this rich collection of recordings.”

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True Echoes was funded by the Leverhulme Trust and the UK Government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

The collection can be found online at https://www.true-echoes.com

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