Día del Patrimonio Cultural (National Cultural Heritage Day) is celebrated in Chile on the last Sunday of May. Usually, national monuments and institutions across the country are open for visits and guided tours. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s celebrations had to find a different way of reaching the public.

“Día del Patrimonio Cultural en Casa” (National Cultural Heritage Day at Home) focussed on bringing people in touch with cultural heritage through sharing digital content of all kinds. 

IFLA’s Preservation and Conservation (PAC) Centre at the National Library of Chile reported that the National library offered an online programme on the theme Chilean Memory and National Digital Library.

Some examples of their online programming included:

  • Virtual tour of the documents and images in the National Library’s collection.
  • A “Journey through Chile” with a selection of images, manuscripts, books, magazines and other materials from the Territorial Libraries of the National Digital Library.
  • A special issue of the monthly bulletin of the National Digital Library, titled Chilean Memory and Chile for Children
  • An online lecture series on “Books and traditional knowledge”, featuring discussions on the books “Chilean Wine Heritage” and “Canto a lo Poeta: Pedagogical notebook of intangible cultural heritage”, which discusses traditional musical expression of the countryside of Chile. 

You can find more information on the National Library of Chile’s Programmes here: Día del Patrimonio Cultural en Casa

The PAC Centre director also noted that there were many initiatives inviting people to share their personal archives and documents from home.

For example, Gabriela Mistral Regional Library, Chile’s largest regional library, organised a joint project with the Regional Coordination of Public Libraries and the National Council of Monuments, “My memories with books: Reading trajectories in the Coquimbo Region”. This call to share photographs of family memories with books is meant to record how one’s relationship with literature from childhood accompanies them throughout life. 

Engagement exceeded expectation. The Chilean National Service of Cultural Heritage reports over 1,900 online activities total, and several million visitors both to the event’s website and interacting on social media with the hashtag #DíadelPatrimonioEnCasa. Also of note, many of these activities included inclusion and accessibility tools.

“Día del Patrimonio Cultural en Casa” is an example of successfully engaging audiences with cultural heritage sites, institutions and collections through virtual means. Many of the weekend’s event also show the importance of digitised collections, and the profound potential they have for increased engagement with cultural heritage.

Thanks to the PAC Centre at the National Library of Chile for sharing!  

You can see all the activities for the day at the Día del Patrimonio Cultural website.