Memory of the World

“The world’s documentary patrimony belongs to us all, and must be completely preserved and protected by all”. With this vision, UNESCO - Organization of United Nations for the Education, Science and Culture - established, in 1992, the international program Memory of the World. The Brazilian National Library (BN) is one of the members of the Brazilian Committee program and, as such, participates on the coordination of the plans of action developed in Brazil.

Legacy of the past for the present and future worldwide community, the documentary patrimony of worldwide people traces the evolution of the thought, the discoveries and the accomplishments of the human being society. The program Memory of the World’s mission is to work in favor of the preservation of these documents.

The general guidelines of the program had been elaborated by the International Federacy of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) that, together with the International Council on Archives (HOISTS), compiled lists of library collections and of heritage’s irreparable damaged archives.

The regional and national committees are crucial parts in the structure of the program and in the implementation of its five basic strategies: documentary patrimony identification, awareness, preservation, access, structures, status and relations.

The main aspect in the Program Memory of the World is the Memory of the World Register, created in 1995. It is about a list of the worldwide documentary patrimony recommended by the International Advisory Committee - IAC) and endorsed by the UNESCO general director. The criteria of selection for the registration of a heritage are related to its worldwide importance and its detached universal value.

Check BN heritage documents certified by UNESCO Memory of the World Register

2014 - Andradinas Letters

Set of letters sent by the three Andrada brothers - Jose Bonifácio, Martim Francisco and Antonio Carlos - to the journalist and diplomat Antonio de Menezes Vasconcelos de Drummond, between 1824 and 1833. 

2013 - Ernesto Nazareth’s Musical Manuscripts

Considered one of the most creative Brazilian composers, Ernesto Nazareth was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1863. He started to learn piano at the age of three and composed his first music at the age of 14.

2012 - Cartographer Miguel Antonio Ciera’s Atlases and Map (1758)

First iconographic set of the region that, in the 18th century started to be named Pantanal, with geographic letters and registers of the fauna elements, popular types and sights of landscapes, in pencil and watercolors

2011 – Engraving Matrices of the Literary House Arco do Cego

Original engraved copper matrices, produced by the typography of the Literary House Arco do Cego, which probably, had been sent for the Impressão Régia in Brazil.

2010 - “Viagem Filosófica”: Scientific expedition of Alexander Rodrigues Ferreira in the captaincy of Grão-Pará, Rio Negro, Mato Grosso and Cuiabá - 1783-1792

A heritage with 191 textual documents, and approximately 1,500 drawings, representing, in its majority, the botany and the fauna of Brazil in the 18th century.

2009 - Musical Manuscripts of Carlos Gomes

Originally from Campinas, SP, Carlos Gomes was the most important opera composer in Brazil. Author of `O Guarani', he stood out for his romantic style

2008 – Carta Régia of the Opening of the Brazilian Ports to Friendly Nations *

First decree promulgated by D. João VI in Brazil, four days after his arrival in 1808, authorizing the opening of the Brazilian ports to the commerce with the friendly nations of Portugal.

2003 - The Emperor Collection: Brazilian and Foreign photograph of the 19th Century **

A heritage with 23 thousand photographs of Brazil and the world from the 19th century, which had been donated by D. Pedro II and integrates Thereza Christina Maria Collection.


* also enclosed in the Regional Register of Latin America and the Caribbean

** also enclosed in the International Register of UNESCO