Documentary management, custody and service of santjoaner documentary heritage are the lines that mark the action of the Municipal Archives of Sant Joan d’Alacant (AMSJA). For people fond of history, whether researchers, professionals or enthusiasts about the past, the AMSJA offers a space to approach to documentation and its use as an enriching way of cultural entertainment. The Archive shares the building with the Municipal Library in the Cultural Center located at Avenida de la Rambla Llibetad, 22.
The study of documentary sources was considered until recently a stronghold for scholars, a field restricted to the scientific and academic sphere that created an interpretative rather than physical barrier towards our past. Fortunately the current files are open to all audiences which boosts a more critical, polyhedral and transverse knowledge of history.
And this is because the documentation kept in the archives, mainly with administrative value, is able to offer different interpretations and be the subject of various studies. A population census of the nineteenth century helps us to understand not only the local demographics and households, but also the social stratigraphy, its distribution in the urban core, literacy, productive sectors, etc. A municipal budget that nowadays has economic and administrative value may likewise be shredded in each of its items and studied as an anthropological source because it captures the traditions, celebrations or everyday activities, and other political and social considerations.
The unique physical characteristics of paper documentation -support of the documentation until the recent incorporation of the electronic document- and the cares that its preservation requires regarding temperature and relative humidity control, adds to the vicissitudes of history like wars, lawsuits or inadequate facilities.
Due to these factors, without forgetting that our Villa, then University of San Juan and Benimagrell, belonged to the city of Alicante, the oldest document kept in AMSJA dates from 1847. The documentary series on taxes and levies, budgets, censuses of inhabitants and minutes of the plenary council started in the second half of the nineteenth century.
The AMSJA currently has modern facilities, including a large consultation room with an auxiliary library specialized in local topics and its own exhibition space in which to carry out dissemination activities of their funds.