The Historisch Centrum Limburg (HCL) is a modern, professional organisation that, in addition to legal tasks related to the management of government archives, also develops and supports various activities in the area of regional and local history, such as guided tours, courses, lectures, exhibitions, publications, television productions, and other public events.
The HCL often cooperates with other related institutions in the (eu)region.
The HCL gathers all kinds of information that fall within our acquisitions profile and that are suitable to serve as a basis for a historical reconstruction of the cities of Maastricht and Heerlen and the Province of Limburg (including the previously existing territories) and her residents. In part, this function falls under the legal tasks as articulated in the Archives Act of 1995.
At hte HCL, we manage information with the aim to preserve it for future generations. We do this through conservation, restoration, digitalisation and duplication of originals, among other tasks.
The material upon which the information is recorded (not only paper, but also perkament, photos, negatives and lately also digial files) is liable to deteriorate somewhat with time and may suffer from general use or other damage. To protect the information as much as possible for future use, we implement various strategies.
The conditions in which the materials are stored has a great impact on their life-span. This is why in the 1990s, advanced underground depots were built with a total storage capacity stretching 27 kilometers. Our archive depots meet the high standards concerning the climate (temperature and humidity), ventilation, air purity, lighting, and water and fire safety needed for conservation.
Much damage and deterioration can be avoided simply by using appropriate packaging materials. The packaging material used must match the chemical nature of the archival material. For instance, in order to pack paper acid free boxes and covers should be used.
The production of microfilms and digitalisation serve several goals. On one hand we use this to improve the accessibility and search possibilities of information (via the internet for example), while on the other hand this reduces further wear and tear of original material. Even modern information carriers (like CD-ROMs and DVDs) are subject to material deterioration. Of course, the future maintenance and preservations of digital information (digital sustainability) has our full attention.
conservative treatment and restoration
Sometimes due to damage, wear and tear, chemical degradation or corrosion through moisture, molds and/or insects, the archival material we safeguard is hardly fit for consultation. In such instances, we carry out a conservative treatment or even a restoration. Therefore, we have an inhouse restoration workplace, where damaged pieces can be repaired.
availability and consultation
We make our information available in a range of ways: in our study hall, via the internet and through exhibitions, publications, courses, radio and TV programs. All of our archival documents and collections (with a few exceptions) are available for consultation by everyone.
In the study hall, our staff members are ready to help visitors with their questions, to give advice or to provide further support with their research. The consultation of our archives is free of charge.
Visitors come to the HCL for all sorts of reasons. They may be looking for a piece of evidence, for example for their right to pension or for the restoration of their (monumental) residence or house. However, visitors are most often interested in 'regular' historical research. Frequently, they are researching the history of their hometown or their family history (also called genealogy).
supervision and advice
The HCL also supervises and gives advise on the management of governmental archives within the province of Limburg to ensure a good, well-structured and accessible state of long-term management and thereby to guarantee the authenticity of the information concerned.
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