Past in the present for the future

Preservation in the Hungarian archives
October 7, 1999 - October 31, 1999

The natural materials (paper, leather, parchment) of the archival documents continuously decompose through the aging process.  Since this process is heavily influenced by environmental factors, employing adequate storage facilities and climate control can considerably slow down this process.

The exhibit portrays various types of possible damage, protective and storage facilities used both in the past and today, as well as the methods for the preservation of our written history. Visitors will be able to see valuable materials used for mending and strengthening of documents which otherwise would have often times become useless.  In addition to this, a full complement of procedures applied in the restoring process will be displayed. The result of the restorative work will be demonstrated through a collection of valuable and original documents, photographs and video installations.

The storage units hold, among other things, documents from the 14th and 15th centuries issued by Luis the Great and King Matthias , Turkish manuscripts from the 1600s, moldy and insect-bitten letters dating back to feudalist times, letters belonging to the private collection of the Habsburg family as well as documents prepared for the 1896 Millenary exhibition that were rescued from the raging fire in the National Archives.  Visitors interested in events from a more recent past will find the documents (damaged by the scotch tape used to “mend” the already ripped pages) pertaining to the trial of Ferenc Szalasi especially interesting.  A collection of coats of arms and elaborate family trees from private family and church archives will enliven the exhibit.  The restoration of ancient maps and blueprints often prove to be a challenging task even to the most accomplished restorer; the works of Miklos Ybl (the building of the old house of representatives), Abraham Ganz (plan submitted for the competition for the temporary building of the Parliament) and Albert Schickedanz (Museum of Fine Arts) will prove to be the most interesting.

The exhibition will be opened by Mr. Gergely Prőhle, the Administrative Under-secretary of the Ministry of National and Cultural Heritage.