31 March 2022

Archives. The good and bad of museums


Liyuan Library in the Huairou district in Beijing [Photography: Cui Meng/China Daily]

Classifying, recording and archiving the past are typically human acts with historical, ethical, political and legal consequences that imply a certain degree of discrimination. This task, which has become an institutionalised need to record everything without leaving anything behind without losing anything, has been termed Archive Fever by Jacques Derrida.

Following standardised parameters, the life of museums and cultural institutions is amassed in these repositories, and its material nature has, for some time now, been going through a profound crisis that is forcing a rethinking of archiving methods, modes of consultation and the usefulness of physical access to documents.

As a professional forum, experts in museum and gallery archives, and cultural institutions with a special focus on photographic and digital archives, such as the Archivo Lafuente in Santander, the Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid, and the Centro de Cultura Contemporánea in Barcelona, among other organisations and institutions, share their knowledge in and experiences on archives, both material and immaterial, with the aim of highlighting and discovering some of the most outstanding experiences on the national scene.


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