A new collaborative website, The Labrador Inuit Through Moravian Eyes, documents the history of the Moravian presence in coastal Labrador.
The website, a joint project among the Libraries of the University of Toronto, Memorial University of Newfoundland and Laval Université, was made possible in part through the Canadian Culture Online program of the Department of Canadian Heritage. The site documents the history of the Moravian missionary settlements and highlights the interaction between the congregation and the Inuit of coastal Labrador. Moravian missionaries had their origin in ancient Bohemia and Moravia in what is the present-day Czech Republic, arriving in North America early in the eighteenth century.
The website includes digital reproductions of about 6,000 pages of textual material and 1,000 photographs related to the missions in Labrador. The site also includes rare manuscript maps of northern Labrador and drawings, plans and paintings of the missionary settlements. It also provides access to approximately one hour of audio and video recordings of Moravian choral and brass band music.
The collection is accompanied by bilingual metadata which facilitates the discovery and retrieval of information. Users are able to search and browse through the digital collection. It is also full text searchable, allowing users complete access to the collection of archival and print material.
The richness of the Moravian-Inuit records lends itself to the creation of a wide variety of interactive and supplementary learning materials. The website includes materials such as essays, timelines and other ancillary materials related to life on coastal Labrador.
To aid Canada’s student population, learning plans and other interactive materials have been created to promote experiential learning. While the overall goal of this project is to create a freely accessible resource where all Canadians can explore their cultural heritage, the new and exciting learning opportunities that flow naturally from such a venture is an added benefit.