Reflections on heritage, history and interpretation for International Archive Day

Friday 9th June 2017 was International Archive Day and during that day I was lucky enough to be spending some time in one of the most culturally rich cities in Europe: Madrid. In previous posts, I’ve spoken about the most famous cultural attraction here – the Museo del Prado – and some of the lesser-known ones such as the Museo Cerralbo and the Naval Museum. Madrid contains many archives, museums and heritage sites, all worth their weight in gold due to the enormous wealth of history contained within them. I wanted to reflect on this history in the context of some of the things I’ve seen over the past few days here in the city, and to think about the connections which these institutions forge between the past and the present.

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Remembrance of libraries past (and present)

In my last post I talked about visiting a library to get ‘real’ books for my course. I was lucky enough to be able to take advantage of the SCONUL access scheme which enables distance learning students at participating universities to use library services at their local university. It’s an excellent service and very easy to register for, and all the better if the university teaches a similar course to yours and has a plentiful supply of books or resources. So, having received my authorising email and double-checked with the library, off I went to my local university, armed only with a bus ticket and a list of books.

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