The Nova Scotia Archives are turning to modern technology to help commemorate an important event.
Today marks the 95th anniversary of the Halifax Explosion and users of social media are encouraged to log onto Twitter to share their thoughts and memories of the event.
“By using a special hashtag, we’re going to collect and really preserve these tweets,” says Lauren Oostveen, a spokeswoman for the Nova Scotia Archives.
On Dec. 6, 1917, a French cargo ship full of explosives collided with a Norwegian ship in the narrows of the Halifax Harbour.
The collision sparked a fire which led to the most powerful manmade explosion before the atomic bomb.
More than 2,000 people were killed and several thousand more injured, or left homeless.
"There are all sorts of people who have connections with the Halifax Explosion who could use this project to bring their stories to light, and we'd be very happy to hear from them," says Janet Kitz, author of Shattered City: The Halifax Explosion and the Road to Recovery.
Twitter users can find tweets related to the Halifax Explosion by searching hashtag #hfxex1917.
As a newcomer to the city of Halifax, curious about its history, Brandi Lewis will be following the updates on Twitter today.
“I think it’s a really great idea,” says Lewis. “I think kids aren’t looking at textbooks anymore, and they need to be stimulated by other things in popular media, such as TV, movies, Twitter and Facebook.”
But today’s Twitter event isn’t just for youth.
Oostveen and her team hope all age groups across the country log on and contribute.
“Twitter is like the telegram of the future and this is the way that people would have been sending each other messages at the time of the Halifax Explosion.”
People who want to participate can tweet their stories and attach the hashtag #hfxex1917.
The Nova Scotia Archives will be collecting the stories on Twitter leading up to the 100th anniversary of the Halifax Explosion in 2017 to preserve in the archives.
"As the centenary anniversary of the Halifax Explosion nears, individual and family memories of the event are fading," says provincial archivist Lois Yorke.
"Collecting stories using Twitter will allow future generations to access these unique perspectives on how the event impacted our province and its people."
The public tweets will be collected using an online cache and then will be printed and bound for researchers.
The tweets will also be incorporated into planned online and on-site centenary commemoration exhibits.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Suzette Belliveau