Contributed Talk - Splinter Culture

Wednesday, 15 September 2021, 15:15   (virtual Cult)

Cultural Heritage of Observatories - IAU List "Outstanding Astronomical Heritage"

Gudrun Wolfschmidt
Center for History of Science and Technology, Hamburg Observatory, University of Hamburg

In this contribution, observatories, the architecture of the building(s), instrumentation, photographic plate collection, archive, research, should be presented as material culture (tangible) as well as intellectual (intangible) cultural heritage. The IAU Division C, Commission C4 "World Heritage & Astronomy" Initiative (AWHI) identifies the cultural and astronomical values in a comparative analysis in order to assess the "Outstanding Universal Value" (OUV) of observatories (and archaeoastronomical sites) with the aim to be nominated for the inscription on the Unesco "World Heritage List" or on the "Outstanding Astronomical Heritage" (OAH) list (database). The emphasis is on the period from the Renaissance to the 20th century, which was already important for the history of astronomy, with many observatories from this period playing a significant role because of the cutting-edge scientific research carried out there. However, the actual building may be damaged or destroyed and the original instruments may no longer exist in situ or at all, then they do not fulfill the OUV, the Unesco authenticity and integrity standards. For these cases, the OAH list was created and launched at the IAU's General Assembly in Vienna (2018). Relevant observatories will be gradually added on the Portals (AWHI, UNESCO, IAU-OAH).