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Opening Ceremony of the New Archives Headquarters in Nowy Sącz

October 18, 2023

On June 22, 20203, we had the honor of participating in the opening of another branch of the National Archives in Krakow, supervised by us. “In recent years, Polish archives have undergone not only visual but also institutional changes. They have become very active participants in public life – they are friendly, open to interaction, and more well-known to the public. This is our shared success,” said Minister of Culture and National Heritage Prof. Piotr Gliński during the opening ceremony of the new Archives headquarters in Nowy Sącz, a branch of the National Archives in Krakow.

In addition to the resources in Nowy Sącz, the building will also house the records of the former archival branch in Nowy Targ, which are currently stored in Krakow. Records from other state and local institutions from the Sącz and Podhale regions will also be progressively collected.

Minister of Culture and National Heritage emphasized that archives are the foundation of a modern state’s functioning. He pointed out that they serve not only administration but also the entire national community.

“Archives are responsible for memory, without which no cultural community can function. Nowadays, they are modern and open institutions. For some time, there has been a portal that provides our archival resources to the public and all interested parties, allowing us to discover local or family histories,” Prof. Piotr Gliński emphasized.

The Minister of Culture highlighted that archives were previously neglected and pushed to the bottom of social needs.

“Archives were neglected. For the past eight years, we have been trying to overcome this crisis. The Archives in Nowy Sącz are the second modern facility in Małopolska, following the magnificent Archives in Krakow. We have also built new archives in Białystok and Suwałki, and in September, we are opening a modern archive in Bydgoszcz,” said the Minister of Culture.

Prof. Piotr Gliński announced that, as part of the “Construction and Maintenance of National Archives in a Public-Private Partnership” program, which will be implemented from 2023 to 2052, additional archives will be established in Szczecin, Poznań, Łódź, Piotrków Trybunalski, and Koszalin. He mentioned that the estimated cost of the entire program for five archives over a 25-year perspective is approximately 2.5 billion PLN.

The Minister of Culture’s attention was drawn to the fact that the construction of the new Archives headquarters in Nowy Sącz is one of the 7,000 cultural investments carried out over the past 8 years.

“Nowy Sącz can be proud of this wonderful place, which will not only serve as an archive but will also serve a broader purpose because contemporary archives are open institutions that perform many other functions,” Prof. Piotr Gliński concluded.

About the Investment

In 2019, the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage issued a decision to allocate funds for the construction of the new Archives headquarters in Nowy Sącz.

Construction work began in June 2021.

The new building, with a usable area of over 2,500 square meters, has two levels and consists of two modules – an office section and a storage section. The lower part of the building houses the publicly accessible area along with a reading room and storage facilities, while the upper floor contains office spaces and workspaces for archivists, also connected to the storage areas.

The warehouses, a critical component of the new facility, constitute about 2/3 of the building’s total volume and will accommodate approximately 10,500 linear meters of records. Thanks to special isolation from external conditions, stable climatic conditions will be maintained inside. In the future, expansion of the storage section horizontally (by extending it further on the plot) or vertically (adding another floor on top) is possible.

The ground floor’s publicly accessible section includes a glassed-in lobby and a conference room for approximately 50 people, which can be combined with the reading room after moving a mobile partition wall to increase its capacity. The room has independent and functional sound equipment, as well as projection screens (including mobile ones), allowing for workshops, exhibitions, shows, and lessons. The reading room provides 25 workstations for Archive users. This section also includes technical and sanitary facilities, a room for monitoring the facility and remote control of most installations in the building. On the first floor in the office area, there are workspaces for records, including a digitization workspace, a sanitary and social area, auxiliary storage, a server room, and an additional room for activities, training, and meetings.

The new building will house the entire existing resources of the Nowy Sącz Archive (about 2,000 linear meters) and the resources of the former archival branch in Nowy Targ, which are currently stored in Krakow (about 1,200 linear meters). The return of the historical resources of the city of Nowy Sącz from the Krakow central office is also planned. Records from various state and local institutions from the Sącz and Podhale regions will be successively transferred.

The primary design goal for the building was to provide suitable, stable temperature and humidity conditions inside the archival storage. The facility uses a modern heating and air conditioning system with heat pumps. In the warehouses, a modern fire protection system known as “water mist” has been installed, which eliminates the risk of flooding the rooms until the fire alarm is triggered. Photovoltaic panels on the roof will provide a portion of the electrical energy for the building. In the rear part of the plot, a technical building with a transformer station and a green area with walking paths for Archive users has been planned.