Head of the Department of Manuscripts and Old Prints Jiří Dufka shows one of the key maps of Moll's map collection – the first map of the countries under the rule of the Habsburgs – at the press conference of the Moravian State Library, May 24, 2023, Brno. The UNESCO Executive Board has approved the nomination of Moll's map collection, a unique collection atlas from the 18th century, to the International Memory of the World Register.
Brno – According to experts, Moll's map collection, which was recently added to the International Memory of the World Register, is exceptional in terms of its scope and preservation of the original structure. The collection was formed by the collector Bernard Pavel Moll in the 18th century. It is now kept by the Moravian State Library in Brno. Journalists had a look at the collection today.
Maps from the end of the 16th century to the 1860s document, among other things, the contemporary situation in the Balkans or wars in northern Italy and Silesia, Jiří Dufka, head of the library's manuscripts and old prints department, said at the press conference.
“Moll actually took files of graph sheets and atlases that were available and had some predefined structure, cut them up and rearranged the whole thing,” Dufka described. According to him, most similar collections from the time were divided between individuals or different institutions, and no one knew how the materials belonged to each other. In addition, Moll pasted the cut-out maps with high-quality handmade paper, which helped to keep the collection in good condition.
“We also have period catalogs and we know how Moll collected the collection. We also have additional information about the maps,” said Dufka. The preserved collection consists of two parts. One atlas is dedicated to the hereditary Habsburg lands, the other to the Holy Roman Empire.
The administrator of the collection, which has also been completely digitized and available on the web since 2010, is the Moravian State Library. “I would like the fact that Moll's collection was selected to shed light on other parts of our collections at the same time,” said library director Tomáš Kubíček.
On June 6, the library is holding a special lecture dedicated to Moll's collection. He plans an exhibition for 2026, as part of the co-organization of an international conference on historical cartography. “And in the coming years, the collection will be moved to a depository, where it will be protected from dust, light, temperature and humidity,” Dufka added.
The UNESCO Memory of the World program was established in 1992. Its goal is to raise awareness of documentary heritage as part of the cultural heritage of mankind. A member state can propose two nominations to the international register every two years – but the restriction does not apply to international nominations. In addition to Moll's map collection, the Antonín Dvořák Archive was also included in the Memory of the World this year.