alexa Polish Library in Paris

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Polish Library in Paris

The prime instigator for the creation of the Polish Library in Paris was Karol Sienkiewicz, who had managed to assemble the already existing book collections in the history and statistical departments of the Towarzystwo Literackie w Paryżu, and the Towarzystwo Pomocy Naukowej, the Polish Literary and Scientific Aid societies. The Polish Library in Paris (French: Bibliothèque Polonaise de Paris, Polish: Biblioteka Polska w Paryżu) is a Polish cultural centre of national importance and is closely associated both with the historic Great Emigration of the Polish élite to Paris in the 19th-century and the formation in 1832 of the Literary Society (pl: Towarzystwo Literackie), later the Historical and Literary Society. The Library was founded in 1838 by Adam Jerzy Czartoryski, Julian Ursyn Niemcewicz and Karol Sienkiewicz, among others. Its first task was to safeguard all surviving books, documents, archives and treasures of national significance. It has become a historical and documentary resource open for the use of Poles and other researchers and visitors. It houses three museums: Salon Frederic Chopin, the Adam Mickiewicz Museum and the Biegas Art collection. UNESCOs Memory of the World Register rates it as an institution unique of its kind. The Polish Library in Paris is the oldest cultural institution outside the territory of Poland. Since 1854 the Library has occupied the entire original building. Next to the Library are the premises of the Adam Mickiewicz Museum, Paris, opened in 1903. Attached, are also the Salon Frédéric Chopin, the only permanent exhibition in Paris to the memory of the composer and the Musée Boleslas Biegas with paintings and sculpture by the artist and other Polish artists. In the present economic decline, although partly funded from Polands higher education budget, the Library faces continuous challenges as maintenance costs rise, materials age and cultural institutions face financial competition from other social priorities and needs, not least digital ones. There is currently pressure on the Polish collection at Rapperswil Castle to leave its premises in Switzerland. This bodes ill for other such centres which may be obliged either to be scattered or receive more fragile materials, as has already disastrously happened in the case of the decimated Polish Museum at Fawley Court, England.

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