Wikipedia in residence in the Château de Versailles

The public establishment of the Château, Museum and national estate of Versailles and Wikimédia France, association for the free sharing of knowledge, have today signed a partnership to allow a wider dissemination of the historical, architectural and artistic riches of the Château and estate of Versailles.

Wikimedia France promotes in France the famous on-line encyclopaedia Wikipedia and the other Wikimedia projects. For several years now, the Château de Versailles has been involved on a large scale in the digital dissemination of its heritage, history and collections on its website as well as on file sharing websites and the social networks.

For the first time in France, a “resident Wikipedian”, Benoît Evellin, will spend six months in the Château de Versailles. This member of Wikimedia France, a specialist in cultural mediation, will be working to facilitate contacts between the contributors to Wikipedia and the teams of the Château de Versailles. His assignment is to set up efficient channels for transmitting the cultural and scientific contents of the Château de Versailles on the Wikimedia projects, in French as well as in several other languages, and on Wikimedia Commons, the central media library of the Wikimedia projects, notably via photographs.

Benoît is enthusiastic: “It’s a great honour for me to be received in this symbol of the history of France. Versailles has always been a place of innovation: so it’s normal that it remains so in the digital age.”
Jean-Jacques Aillagon, President of the Public Establishment of the Château, Museum and National Estate of Versailles, states: “Wikipedia is a major source of information on the Château de Versailles, circulated worldwide. Some conservators and scientific specialists of the Establishment already contribute spontaneously to enrich some articles. The purpose of this residence is to enable us to go further and pursue our reflection on the widest possible sharing of the heritage of Versailles.”

Looking beyond this pioneering project, this partnership is intended to build the framework of a longer lasting collaboration between Wikimedia France and the Château de Versailles. Inspired by the Rencontres Wikimedia 2010, this partnership is one of the first visible fruits of a new way of approaching culture and its free dissemination in the Internet age.

We are delighted to see that in just a few weeks an original, fruitful and innovative collaboration can be set up,” says Adrienne Alix, chairwoman of Wikimedia France. ”The dynamism of the Château de Versailles and its desire to share its heritage is very appreciable, and we are sure that this will open the way to other projects with other institutions, as we have already done with the City of Toulouse and the BNF and in our experiments with Versailles.