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The Declaration of Halle, 16 April 2000

Academic Heritage and Universities - Responsibility and Public Access

Universities must acknowledge their wide cultural roles. Academic collections and museums provide special opportunities for experiencing and participating in the life of the University. These collections serve as active resources for teaching and research as well as unique and irreplacable historical records. In particular, the collections of the oldest European universities provide windows for the public on the role of the university in helping to define and interpret our cultural identity. By valuing and promoting this shared academic heritage, our institutions demonstrate a commitment to the continued use of these resources by a broad public.

The Programme

The representatives of collections and museums of several European universitites assembled at Halle agree to found a network, "Academic Heritage and Universities". The network is open to interested academic institutions with similar collections and will collaborate closely with other relevant initiatives.

The objective of the network is to share knowledge and experiences among its members and to undertake joint projects with the aim of enhancing access to the collections at all levels. In particular, the network will pursue the following objectives:

1. to establish a directory of collections in the respective academic units which contains information about the extent and nature of the holdings in order to enhance access to and use by those collections by students, academics and a broad public;

2. to stimulate public awareness of the collections by facilitating the production of travelling exhibitions and the exchange of material, including loans, and to promote understanding of the collections through scholarly research and teaching;

3. in view of the growing use and potential of electronic media for cultural expression the network will particularly explore the use of the World Wide Web and the creation of "virtual" museum resources to promote access to the academic heritage;

4. to organise conferences and symposia on topics of common interest and, where appropriate, to facilitate the exchange and enhancement of technical skills and expertise amongst members.

In view of the continuing need to promote the use and understanding of the academic heritage the network will continue to meet to develop joint projects which meet these objectives. Help for these initiatives will be sought from the EU-Program "Culture 2000". AGB

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