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Central Archive
of Culture

The Culture's Central Archive: reference tools

The current archive collection held in the Culture's Central Archive originates, on one hand, from the department's predecessors and on the other, from document transfers from office archives.

Thus, we can talk about the following collections:

Ministry of Information and Tourism (1951-1977). When it was created in 1977, the Ministry of Culture's Central Archive received documentation from the units of the Ministry of Information and Tourism, the responsibilities of which were assumed by the new department.

Since then, the majority of this documentation has been sent to the General Archive of the Administration, and currently only part of the documentation produced by the old Offices for Theatres and Shows and Cinematography has been conserved.

This documentation has an obvious value as the source for studying lyrical, theatre, choreographic and audio-visual creations in Spain, in addition to the Central Government's role in this sector (promotion, control and censorship, etc.). It must be borne in mind that the documentation conserved in this Archive is complementary to that already sent to the General Archive of the Administration (where the files on films and several series related to theatre and cinema censorship are conserved).

Ministry of Education and Culture. General Office of Artistic and Cultural Heritage (1974-1977). When the Ministry of Culture's Central Archive was created in 1997 it received the documentation from the Ministry of Education and Science's General Office of Artistic and Cultural Heritage, the responsibilities of which were passed on from the different units in charge of the protection of Spanish Historical Heritage and dependent on three successive ministries: from 1900 to 1938, Ministry of Public Education; from 1938 to 1966, Ministry of National Education; and from 1966 to 1977, Ministry of Education and Science (where the General Office of Artistic and Cultural Heritage appears in 1974).

Since 1977, a great amount of this documentation has been sent to the General Archive of the Administration, and derived documentation showing the functions of the Heritage Protection and Promotion of Fine Arts and Books and Libraries is currently conserved in the Central Archive.

This collection is a source for studying public actions relating to heritage protection, the promotion of artistic creation and books and reading.

With regard to the documentation originating from the Heritage Protection activities, the Archive only conserves the "Historical-Artistic Monument Declaration Files" series, the oldest documents of which date back to 1920, although their continuity began in the 1930's and 1940's. Complementary to this series is the rest of the documentation produced by the General Office of Artistic Heritage and predecessors (1887-1987) sent to the General Archive of the Administration.

The Fine Arts Promotion activities are represented by the Exhibition Organisation Files (since 1971) and by the documentation from the National Exhibition Centre (also since 1971).

Finally, the Central Archive conserves a great deal of documentation related to Books and Libraries (around 1,200 boxes from the 1950's to 1987, including the documents from the Books and Library Centres, and from the National Library, from which some documentation dating back to 1912 has been conserved ). Here also, the documentation conserved in the General Archive of the Administration is complements this documentation.

Since the creation of the Ministry of Culture in 1977, we can now talk about a collection made up by the Department's documentation, in spite of the different organic changes it has undergone during some periods due to being linked to the Ministry of Education:

  • Ministry of Culture (1977-1996).
  • Ministry of Education and Culture. Secretary of State for Culture (1996-2000).
  • Ministry for Education, Culture and Sport. Secretary of State for Culture (2000-2004).
  • Ministry of Culture (2004).

The documentation in this collection is that which has been received to date by means of periodical transfers from the different units of the Ministry or Secretariat of State and is, of course, a reflection of the activity of the Administration in the different areas of responsibility of the Department.

The documentation in this collection is a reflection of the activity of the Administration in the different areas of responsibility of the Department. Thus, and to cite some of the aspects on which one can find information, worthy of mention is the value of the collection for the study of public activity related to:

  • the promotion, protection and dissemination of Spanish Historical Heritage, national museums and plastic arts.
  • the promotion of books and reading, encouragement of literary creation and the promotion, protection and dissemination of National Archives and Libraries.
  • the cultural co-operation with the Public Administrations and international organisations.
  • the promotion, protection and dissemination of scenic arts, music, dance and the circus.
  • the promotion, protection and dissemination of cinematographic and audio-visual activities.

It should be taken into account at all times that the documentation conserved in the Central Archive is complementary to that sent every year to the General Archive of the Administration.





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