Now available for download; the booklet containing all the activities that have taken place during the Year of Holland in Brazil.
The government has always made an important contribution in defining the meaning of heritage in Brazil. The 1930’s witnessed a growing institutionalization of the heritage field following the strengthening and modernization of the State. For instance one can see this in the creation of the first museum course and of the first federal organization for monument protection. This organization carried out a pioneering work on the inventory, conservation and restoration of the city of Ouro Preto (today on the World Heritage List).
In 1936, the National Artistic Heritage Service (SPHAN) was created to execute a legal mandate to identify, protect and support Brazil’s cultural heritage, and promote the national culture. The Service started to with the listing, restoration and revitalization of architectural and urban sites, as well documentary and ethnographic collections, works of art integrated in architecture and movable heritage. Later on, geographic sites and cultural landscapes were added to the organization’s mandate -and now immaterial heritage. Nowadays, the National Artistic Heritage Institute (IPHAN) works on the national level under the umbrella of the Ministry of Culture. Similar work is being carried out by public regional (state) and local (municipal) heritage institutes or other government bodies.
To a certain degree, these developments have led to the term heritage being used in a more pragmatic way connected to IPHAN’s scope of action and that of other public regional and local heritage protection organizations. However, this does not cover the whole of heritage work in Brazil. During the second half of the 20th Century, museums multiplied throughout the country. Libraries and archives have always played a fundamental role in safeguarding and promoting documentary and bibliographical collections, as well as many other varying initiatives. During the 1970s and 1980s there was a lot of activity in the area, with new ideas, the strengthening of the social discourse, an expansion of the concept of heritage- and of the idea of making and managing heritage to outside institutionalized initiatives - as also seen in other parts of the world.
In 1979, the National Pro-Memory Foundation was created to cover museums and organizations (e.g. the National Library) that did not fall under the scope of the cultural policy of SPHAN. Later, the National Library became a separate Foundation. In the 1990s, IPHAN inherited the role of the Pro-Memory Foundation and SPHAN. Since then, the place of museums in the new system has always been a sensitive one. During the last couple of years, a new museum policy has led to the creation of a separate museum department within IPHAN. In December 2008 the Brazilian Institute of Museums (IBRAM) was set up - signalling a long tradition of museology in contributing to the shaping of the heritage field. The same is true of role played by libraries and archives, particularly where it concerned documentary heritage and information management. New initiatives - especially grass-root- are helping shaping the field of heritage beyond the traditional structures and changing the concept and practice of heritage itself.
In this regard, it is possible to see a strong connection between the discourse of heritage and the discourse of memory. Museums, libraries, archives and other institutes are often referred to as ‘houses of memory’ or ‘places of memory’. The power of memory is intrinsically linked to the ideas on heritage. This can been thought of as a result of theoretical reflection - points to an expansion of concepts not much different from what happens in The Netherlands- but it has also a very practical component related to the politics of organizations and of the professional field.
museums, libraries, archives, museology, ibram, history, national artistic heritage service, iphan, sphan