Exposing historical collections in a renovated building: the BNU Nouvelle experiment

BLIN, Frédéric (2014) Exposing historical collections in a renovated building: the BNU Nouvelle experiment. Paper presented at: IFLA WLIC 2014 - Lyon - Libraries, Citizens, Societies: Confluence for Knowledge in Session 69 - Library Buildings and Equipment with Rare Books and Manuscripts. In: IFLA WLIC 2014, 16-22 August 2014, Lyon, France.

Bookmark or cite this item: http://library.ifla.org/id/eprint/947
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Language: English (Original)
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Bookmark or cite this item: http://library.ifla.org/947/1/069-blin-en.pdf

Abstract

Exposing historical collections in a renovated building: the BNU Nouvelle experiment

With over 3M documents, including unique antique, medieval and modern collections, the National and University Library (BNU) of Strasbourg is the second largest heritage library in France. Built in 1895, its main building is a landmark of the city architecture and protected as a historical monument. However, in 2010, it closed its doors for a complete renovation programme intending to give a new life to the building and its collections. Central to this programme called “BNU Nouvelle”, or “The New BNU”, was the intention to not only preserve these unique historical collections, but to present them to the broader public in a new and ambitious way. Next to the preservation of two levels of the historical stacks as testimonies of the architecture of the past, new reserves stacks were planned like an open museum to allow group visits to discover the richness and variety of the library’s collections, including papyri, medals, western and oriental manuscripts, maps and drawings, statues, paintings and furniture, and precious printed editions. This communication intends to present to the IFLA audience a very unique experiment of an old building being completely transformed in order to give the best value to its most precious treasures. Many difficulties were faced concerning preservation and conservation measures and the preparation of the collections, but also concerning the museographical aspects of the project. The reopening of the building planned at the end of November 2014 will show the result of more than four years of intensive work and finally give the libraries’ historical collections the exposure they really deserve.

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