Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile: Former students lead a project that seeks to classify and disseminate archives of the Diocese of Villarrica

Fernanda Zúñiga and Melissa Jeria, graduates of the UC Institute of History with training in the archival area, lead the project “Documentary Heritage of the Church in Araucanía. Archive of the Diocese of Villarrica : identification, organization, description and dissemination”, an initiative that was conceived in 2020 as a result of the interest of the bishopric of this city to organize, communicate and give public access to its valuable historical archive.

The collection, which preserves the documents produced by the management of the institution since its birth as the Apostolic Prefecture of Araucanía in 1949, consists of a documentary section and an audiovisual section that preserve a large part of the legacy of the Italian and Bavarian Capuchin missionaries who were at charge of the evangelization of the Mapuche population of the territory that today includes the regions of La Araucanía, Los Ríos and Los Lagos until the end of the 20th century. The documents preserved in various formats are essential for the study and knowledge of the action and impact that the evangelization of the Catholic Church had in the southern zone of Chile during the 19th and 20th centuries.

The project “Documentary Heritage of the Church in Araucanía. Archive of the Diocese of Villarrica: identification, organization, description and dissemination” was conceived as a result of the interest of the bishopric of this city to organize, communicate and give public access to its valuable archive historical.

Dissemination is a central theme in this project, for which the diocese’s website will add an entry for the Archive in order to contain the necessary elements for an adequate communication of the Archive’s services, such as a Manual of use and procedures, a Funds Guide, a selection of digitized and described documents and an audiovisual that accounts for the process of building the archive.

The School Archives Program is made up of a multidisciplinary team of professionals, teachers and students whose objective is to promote the preservation and opening of Chile’s school documentary heritage.
The School Archives Program is made up of a multidisciplinary team of professionals, teachers and students whose objective is to promote the preservation and opening of Chile’s school documentary heritage.


The initiative was achieved thanks to the alliance between teachers from the UC Institute of History who direct the School Archives Program (PAE), the entity in charge of managing the project, together with the financing provided by the Irarrázaval Foundation.for the first stage of work. In this phase, progress has been made in the identification of the documentary series, the preparation of a plan for the preventive conservation of the collection, the integration of documents into the archive, the development of the classification table for the collection and the preparation of a manual of procedures for the Archive. A plan has also been advanced for the recovery of the audiovisual section that includes the digitization and description of its nearly 15,000 images, and of the recordings and films used for the evangelization process.

“This project has several characteristics that make it special for us. It is a regional ecclesiastical archive that preserves a tremendously valuable documentary heritage for the area and the country, and whose headquarters are located a short distance from theUC Villarrica Campus ; It has an audiovisual section that stores thousands of images, recordings and films that were used for the evangelization process since the time of the Capuchin mission in the area, for which we are developing a digitization project,” explains María José Vial, general coordinator of the program.

Fernanda Zúñiga and Melissa Jeria point out that their work “is oriented towards documentary research and management. Our interest in this field arose from the classes of Professor Rodrigo Sandoval and Professor María José Vial, who called us to be part of this team”.

This project has several characteristics that make it special for us. It is a regional ecclesiastical archive that preserves a tremendously valuable documentary heritage for the area and the country, and whose headquarters are located a short distance from the Villarrica UC Campus – María José Vial, general coordinator of the School Archives Program.

The School Archives Program is made up of a multidisciplinary team of professionals, academics, teachers, and students whose objective is to promote the preservation and opening of Chile’s school documentary heritage to contribute to the sense of identity of their communities and strengthen the citizen training processes of Chile. your students.

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