About the project

About the Jews’ Temporary Shelter Project: Mapping Migration 25.03.2022

With the aim of bringing communities and archives closer together using digital technology, the Jews’ Temporary Shelter Cards: Mapping Migration project was one of 10 selected out of 76 applications to this Audience Agency initiative funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. In partnership with The National Archives’ Digital Archive Learning Exchange network, an independent panel of culture and heritage professionals had the difficult task of selecting projects to take part in the Audience Agency’s new Digitally Democratising Archives project. You can find out more about these projects here


This action research project is part of many digitisation initiatives at the Museum, in which we are making more of our archive accessible to more people. We asked ourselves early on how we could make bureaucratic, but important, never-been-seen-before Jewish history data more visually compelling and more accessible to more people. We wanted to learn how we might use humanities georeferencing technologies to present information in new ways, via data visualisations and graphics, to engage our communities, promote the discovery of new stories, meaning and new information and setting a new precedent for exploring the Jewish Museum London (JML) collections. With the help of doctoral candidate Lewis Smith at Essex University we were able to clean and visualise the data differently.

There have been many exciting firsts with this project: none of this material had been accessible to the public before, and we had never used georeferencing technologies! With our new learnings, we bring the information contained within 243 record cards from the Jews’ Shelter dating from the 1940s and 1950s to you. These cards record migrants passing through the shelter just after WWII and provide information of residents of the shelter; where they were coming from, where they were moving on to, the length of stay in the shelter.

Visualising the information and making the JTS cards accessible is a way of taking care of them, securing their future as artefacts of Jewish culture and history. Our aim is to document, produce and make data available for storytelling and interpretation and create new communities through this process, contributing to meaning making and personal experience around topics of migration, memory and family history.

As part of the project we ran two workshops on geo-referencing; an introduction to the basics, and an advanced geo-referencing workshop. Project associate Lewis also gave a talk summarising the project. These are available to view below

The lines of a new horizon : Mapping the Jew's Temporary Shelter

An Introduction to Geo-Referencing

Advanced Geo-Referencing

Jewish Museum London statement on GDPR considerations for the Jews’ Temporary Shelter Cards: Mapping Migration project.

25 March 2022

In processing and publicising the Jews’ Temporary Shelter Cards data, we acknowledge that some of the information may be related to still living persons. For this reason, we have decided to only show surnames of people who would be 100 years old or older at the date of publication, despite probably legal exemption to do so.

We believe that the legal basis for processing these archival data is in the public interest, and gives wider visibility and enables greater knowledge to the public, historians, and family researchers interested in family history and the history of the passage of global Jewish migrants passing through the Jews’ Temporary Shelter post-War. This rationale for processing these data aligns with our Museum’s mission:

The Jewish Museum London aims to surprise, delight and engage all people, irrespective of background and faith, in the history, identity and culture of Jews in Britain. Our exhibitions, events and learning programmes encourage a sense of discovery and aim to provoke questions, challenge prejudice, and encourage understanding. We aim to build bridges, break down barriers and delight in our shared common humanity.

We have taken precautions to understand the GDPR implications and have applied an options-based approach as advised by The National Archives to deciding which data can be made public.

If you are concerned about publicised data, we operate a ‘take down policy’. Please email [email protected] to express your concerns.

The JTS Cards Project, Mapping Migration, is supported by The Audience Agency’s Digitally Democratising Archives project thanks to funding from DCMS and the National Lottery, as part of The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s, Digital Skills for Heritage initiative.