Our cultural heritage and its main protagonists - libraries and archives, a comparative study

Tomas Lidman


The very notion of a 'cultural heritage' needs to be considered. During one of my first years as National Librarian and Head of the Royal Library in Stockholm I came across a museum director who put forth an insistent case as to why libraries could never be considered safekeeping institutions to our cultural heritage, nor would he concede archives this privilege. He maintained that museums - because of their object orientated collections - were the very definition of true guardianship and representative of our cultural heritage. This point of view made me thoughtful and slightly bewildered, but also that it was quite apparent to what extent and low status museums ascribe the written word. Over the years the notion of a cultural heritage has established itself in the general public's mind and come to encompass, strictly speaking, all expressions of human activity inherent within a historical dimension.

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