Gouvernement Princier de Monaco
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Conserving and developing Monaco’s heritage

A comprehensive, carefully planned heritage policy

The Government treats heritage issues as a priority. Preserving, promoting and making Monaco's heritage more accessible is central to developing this essential aspect of cultural policy.

Developing a hub for museums

In this respect, the Government has gone ahead with updates to the Nouveau Musée National de Monaco  (New National Museum of Monaco), which is now situated on two sites, the Villa Sauber and the Villa Paloma.

The Musée d'Anthropologie Préhistorique  (Museum of Prehistoric Anthropology) was founded by  Prince Albert I in 1902, "to preserve the vestiges of primitive humans exhumed from the ground in the Principality and neighbouring regions". It was established in the Exotic Garden by Prince Rainier III in 1959. This new building was designed by the Monegasque architect Louis Rué. The collections on display tell the history of the major milestones in the evolution of the human race, through the glacial and interglacial periods. They teach us that over a million years ago, the Côte d’Azur was already considered a desirable place to live by our distant ancestors. The museum is a Research Institute and works with an International Scientific Board, and its team carries out digs and laboratory studies, whilst also producing scientific articles, in addition to its exhibitions and mediation activities.

Entities that are involved in the heritage field

L'Association des Archives Audiovisuelles de la Principauté , (The Association of Audiovisual Archives of the Principality) was established in 1997. Its mission is to collect, preserve, archive and promote the Principality's audiovisual history.

The Archives du Palais Princier  (The Archives of the Prince's Palace) conserve, among others, a large number of historic texts relating to the Principality's history and heritage.

La Médiathèque communale  (Monaco’s Multimedia Library) is mainly composed of:

  • La Bibliothèque Louis Notari (Louis Notari Library), which celebrated its centenary in 2009. Prince Albert Ist gave Honoré Labande and Louis de Castro the task of building the first collections of works of art, science, history and literature. When it opened on 2nd April 1909, it had 7,000 volumes; now, it has more than 450,000
  • A sound library and a video library
  • Le Fonds Régional (Regional Collections) conserve collections relating to local history (of the Principality, the Nice area, Provence and Liguria). They are composed of monographs and periodicals, iconographic documents (such as maps, photographs, posters, engravings and postcards) and archival documents

In addition to the traditional activity of a municipal library, it is responsible for preserving legal documents ( Act no. 1.313 of 29 June 2006 concerning the statutory filing of documents) and reconstituting editorial matter as part of heritage preservation.

The principal associations involved in heritage protection include:

  • L’Académie des Langues Dialectales (The Academy of Dialect Languages)
  • The U Cantin d’A Roca Choir

Monitoring international conventions and legislation

For several years, the Principality's involvement in the programmes of l'UNESCO , the Council of Europe and an organisation promoting the French language, la Francophonie (for example, participating in the Francophonie Games) has increased. The Government reflects on an ongoing basis on normative matters and the Principality's membership of various international heritage-related conventions.

In 2009, the Principality celebrated the 60th anniversary of its accession to UNESCO.  At that time, the Monegasque National Commission for UNESCO placed various events under the aegis of this anniversary.

The year 2009 was also marked by Monaco's election to the Organisation's Executive Council, reflecting its continued wish to be significantly involved in this work of this body.

At the European level, the Principality has been actively involved in the Steering Committee for Culture and the Steering Committee for Cultural Heritage and Landscape since it became a member of the Council of Europe in 2004.

The annual European heritage Days , which were initiated by the Council of Europe, have proved very popular with members of the public who are curious to discover the quality and diversity of the Principality's museums and cultural sites each year.

It should also be noted that a bill that would enable the Principality to have a legislative framework surrounding the issues of heritage protection is currently being considered.