GIS – 26 June 2015: The National Archives of Mauritius, one of the oldest archival institutions in the southern Hemisphere, is holding a one-week exhibition showcasing its evolution and some of the current holdings. The exhibition, comprising Records of the French Administration: 1721- 1810; Records of the British Administration: From 1810 – onwards; and Notarial Deeds as from 1724, amongst others, was inaugurated yesterday at the Mauritius Museum Council in Port Louis.
The exhibition, which is organised by the Ministry of Arts and Culture, in collaboration with the National Archives Department, is being held in the context of activities marking the bicentenary of the National Archives. The National Archives houses the collective memory of the nation's history. It has in its store an array of rich and diverse records which are of significant interest to one and all. These records are invaluable for historical, genealogical, cultural, administrative and legal purposes, among others.
The mission of the National Archives is to collect, preserve, make accessible the collective memory of the nation, for the benefit of the present and the future generations, for research and exploitation purposes. Its holdings include:- Copies of maps and plans from 1502 onwards; Specimen of every issue of postage stamps and currencies; Minutes of proceedings from Municipalities and District Councils; Special collection materials including lithographs, photographs and seals; and a collection of rare books and private papers.
In the wake of its modernisation project, the National Archives is in the process of making its physical records available to users on-line. It has embarked on an Electronic Archives System which consists in digitalising its historical collections which form part of the documentary heritage of the Republic of Mauritius. Through this project, the National Archives aims to increase and facilitate access to the Documentary Heritage of Mauritius to a national and international audience. Presently, some 527 000 pages are accessible on-line.
It is recalled that the records relating to the French Occupation of Mauritius (1721-1810), preserved at the National Archives are among the first set of records which have been inscribed on the Memory of the World Register of UNESCO in 1997. These records concern French colonial administration, justice and courts of law, marine and admiralty, slavery and trade.
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