In 2000, a group of human rights organizations began meeting with the aim of participating in a coordinated way in local and national initiatives for remembrance of the last dictatorship in Argentina. The main objective was to contribute to the development of the memory of what happened during the era of state terrorism, to strengthen democracy and to promote respect for human rights. Participating organizations met with the conviction that joint action in memory works would make them stronger in their mission.
Memoria Abierta’s initial work included actions to establish a Memory Museum, an extensive archival program for the historical-institutional documents of human rights organizations and the construction of an Oral Archive on state terrorism. As time went by, Memoria Abierta began systematizing photographs into an archive; also, began with the production of audiovisual registries in order to increase the visibility of repression and resistance spaces and their transformation into sites of memory.
In these initial stages, Memoria Abierta was part of the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience founding, a network of institutions that until today share the goal of turning memory sites into spaces for exchange and debate on contemporary issues from a historical perspective. Since 2005, it has been coordinating the Latin American and Caribbean Network of Sites of Memory, which gathers together sites in the region.
During the years marked by impunity, Memoria Abierta took an active role in demanding state policies for collective memory, developed an intensive work on the heritage of human rights organizations and extended international links in order to encourage the search for memory, truth and justice in other countries.
Since its creation, Memoria Abierta has developed the most extensive Oral Archive in Argentina and participated in methodological exchanges with similar archives in other countries. On the other hand, it has produced an innovative methodology for registration and documentation on the historical sites and the implementation of the repressive system.
Since 2006, when the first trial was held due to the reopening of legal proceedings for crimes against humanity, Memoria Abierta has participated as an expert witness, providing documentation and innovative tools to reconstruct how the Clandestine Detention Centers (CDC) operated that are used throughout the entire legal process.
It has also developed thematic collections on specific cases to expand the knowledge of what happened in different areas of the country, with the aim of strengthening local actors.
Memoria Abierta has promoted since its inception, spaces for debate and reflection that has brought together various actors working on issues of archives, oral sources and historical sites in the country and the region. Thus, from its work on organizing and providing access to files, promotes discussions on accessibility towards the jointly growth of peer institutions in the region.
In 2013, Memoria Abierta moved its headquarters to the “30.000 Compañeros Presentes” building of Familiares de Desaparecidos y Detenidos por Razones Políticas, in the Espacio Memoria y Derechos Humanos [Ex ESMA], where one of the most emblematic Clandestine Detention Centers operated. From this space, shared with other organizations and state agencies, and on a site that calls and appeals to the whole society, Memoria Abierta continues to work for memory, fighting against oblivion and silence, promoting exchanges on Argentina’s experience in Memory, Truth and Justice.