Guiding Principles for Safe Havens for Archives at Risk

pixabay / Akela999

On the Night of the Museums, Blinken OSA addressed the night of the museums: the current condition of public collections in Hungary.

Last year, we launched a timeline to capture the crucial developments that affect Hungarian museums; this year, it was our bitter duty to update this collection. The timeline uncovers how some institutions in Hungary have access to extraordinary resources and opportunities, while others lost their autonomy, their places of residence, their collections; at the same time, their intimidated workers were forced into vulnerable situations. As a result, we can talk about endangered collections even in Hungary.

To investigate these conditions, the Blinken OSA partnered with the online talk show Partizán, and realized a series of panel discussions on the Night of the Museums, inviting the president of the union of public collection and public education workers, the former leader of the preservation department of the Hungarian National Archives, current and former museum workers, representatives of archives and research centers thwarted by the government, and many others. The entire program is available (in Hungarian) on the Partizán YouTube Channel.

Museum, archival, or library collections may face numerous risks. The Safe Havens for Archives at Risk, an international network, was initiated to promote safe haven arrangements, and to facilitate archives at risk find a potential, suitable hosting institution. As an archives with experience in rescuing archival collections, Blinken OSA contributed to the network’s Guiding Principles. This initiative assists, among others, institutions in Syria, Guatemala, South Africa, or Colombia; yet, the question surfaced, whether to what extent the risks listed in the guiding principles are unthinkable in Central Europe? Based on our recent experiences, as well as on what was said during the Night of the Museums program, we considered it necessary to endorse the Guiding Principles for Safe Havens for Archives at Risk (and to make it available to Hungarian professionals also, in an unofficial Hungarian translation):

A commentary to the Guiding Principles and a model agreement are available on the Safe Havens for Archives at Risk website.