The Exercise Book Archive is an ever-growing, participatory archive of old exercise books that allows everyone to discover the history, education, and daily life of children and youth of the past through this unique material.
The Archive includes hundreds of exercise books from more than 30 different countries and dated from the late 1700s to the early 2000s. It is preserved and managed by the Milan-based NPO Quaderni Aperti (literally, Open Exercise Books).
Everybody is invited to contribute to the growth of the collection by lending or donating old exercise books, diaries, and letters, and by volunteering to transcribe and translate their contents.
Our main goal consists in the preservation and enhancement of the Archive through the digitisation, transcription, and translation of the contents of the exercise books.
We also work to bring these testimonies to life through social media, exhibitions, seminars, and other activities.
Exercise books are the main historical source produced by the children of the past.
The books preserve their voices, thus they are powerful tools for research about children’s everyday life and about schooling in different countries.
But we are not just interested in the past.
We would like the contents of the exercise books to stimulate debate about education and the relationship between adults and children, inviting perspectives from teachers, educators, pedagogues, and historians, but also artists, writers, intellectuals, and general public.