Dziesięciolecie Ustawy o Ochronie Dóbr Kultury i o Muzeach
THE TENTH ANNIVERSARY OF THE CULTURAL PROPERTY PROTECTION AND MUSEUMS LAW, 1962
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It is namely this tenth year elapsing from the date on which The Cultural Property Protection and Museums Law has been passed in the Polish Seym that gave the author rise to write his article where he reminds that the above Law may be regarded as a consequence of the progressively, from the 18th century onward, growing respect for antiquities. At the same time the author points to the fact that this Law contains a number of provisions that are extending both scope of notions and range of activities in conservation and in museums in this country. From among the newly adopted conceptions to be emphasized here deserves the term „cultural property” but at the same the fact of retaining of the term „historical monument” with the use of which the Law determines the objects of cultural property that are recorded in museum inventories or in those kept by the Voivodship Conservators. As especially important the author considers the first article of the Law reading as follows: „The protection of cultural property is an obligation for the State and the duty of its citizens”. This basic statement is followed by all further provisions. Under the term „cultural property” also the modern objects are meant provided, hovewer, that they can prove important from the point of view of the nation’s cultural heritage and development of its culture. According to the author’s further reasoning the Law extends its legal protection also to battlefields and to sites connected with the Nazi persecutive actions during the last war, to objects of material culture, to monuments of nature, etc. While providing the possibility to act in many different ways the Law at the same time requires that the all conservation tre a tments be based on scientific assumptions. As a fu rther consequence of obligations that by the force of the Law in question were put on all citizens the following can be considered: the calling into being of advisory bodies supporting the Minister of Culture and Arts and those acting at Voivodship Conservators Offices; the provisions determining the use to be made of historical monuments as well as those settling the manner in which they should be made accessible to the public; or, finally, those dealing with their popularization and social contributions for the sake of their protection. The due attention has been devoted to individual collectors who were granted with a number of special privileges. What concerns museums it must be considered as appreciable that in addition to the term „museum” has been introduced that of „collection of exhibits” who are otherwise called the „museum objects”. As fully adequate as to its ability to characterize the museums practice is to be regarded a review of functions that should be performed by a museum; of them, of course, as the most important are to be considered those scientific and educational. However, it must also be stated that the ten-year experience has shown not only the advantages resulting of the Law under discussion, but also pointed to some failures the sources of which, according to the author’s opinion, must mainly be sought in the executive regulations. So, for example, as the author suggests, the Voivodship Conservators should be supplied with decisive powers while collaborating with the local authorities responsible for spatial development and townplanning; an ex officio recording of the movable monuments of the past should be made also more extensive, and especially in cases where they are kept under unfavourable conditions; obligatory practices should be introduced for persons graduating in movable monument conservation divisions a t the high schools; and, finally, much more care should be devoted to decisions concerning the cancelling the historical buildings in a Register of Historical Monuments and their demolishions. There is no doubt that provided that the more thorough consideration be paid to these decisions it would become possible to safeguard a considerable number of objects without any more serious disadvantages or burdens to national economy. Toward those demanding th a t serious alterations or amandments be introduced to the Cultural Property Protection and Museums Law the author of the present assumed a critical or even negative attitude as it is his view th at a document of such fundamental nature as a Law should be one sound enough and, thus all its provisions represent an obvious standard or even a habit governing the attitudes of the society. It is then only that it will be possible to hope th a t our cultural heritage might survive without any further losses.
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