Collection of Eduards Kraucs: UNESCO’s value

Kegums Power Plant - a symbol of the century

In the 1930s, Kegums Power Plant was a symbol of state and national self-awareness and a sign of the era, while the photographic representation of the construction of the power plant has become an important documentary heritage. The Process of Kegums Hydropower Plant Construction 1936–1940, a collection of E.Kraucs’ glass plate photo negatives, makes an unforgettable story in the collective memory of the Latvian nation, demonstrating the understanding of the Latvian government (1918–1940) of the sustainable development of the economy and people’s well-being, the professionalism and competence of Latvian engineering specialists and the ability to develop international cooperation during the construction of the largest and most complex power plant in the Baltics.

Eduard Kraucs’ collection has a dual value

It is a unique and irreplaceable chronological presentation of the historical event of the construction of Kegums Power Plant. At the same time, the collection is an excellent example of the professional activity of the photographer E. Kraucs. The photos taken by him have a historical, artistic and communicative value: their message provides insight into the construction of Kegums Hydropower Plant, giving the viewers a sense of presence in the “heart” of the power plant – its machine hall and the control panel, as well as allowing them to feel the contemporary dynamics of the water of the Daugava River, technology and human values. Each photo as a work of art is distinguished by its plasticity and tonality. In turn, the dating made with calendar accuracy ensures the availability of accurate monographic information on the progress of the construction process. E. Kraucs’ collection represents the only photographic documentation of a construction project of this scale known in Europe so far.

In 2009

the collection of E. Kraucs’ glass plate photo negatives on the construction of Kegums Power Plant (1936–1940) was included in the Latvian National Register of the UNESCO Memory of the World Programme, acknowledging the belonging of the collection to the cultural heritage of Latvia, a value that points to the interaction of people’s knowledge and skills, achievements and unique industrial history.

E. Kraucs’ photos depicting the construction of Kegums Power Plant

are available in the Joint Catalogue of the National Holdings of Museums of Latvia. Information about the collection and selected images are also published in the World Digital Library, promoting recognition of Latvia and Latvenergo in the global cultural space. The World Digital Library features over 19,000 important cultural history testimonies from many countries in the world, including Brazil, the United Kingdom, China, Egypt, Japan, France, Russia, Saudi Arabia, the United States, Iraq, Israel, Mali, Mexico, the Netherlands, Qatar, Serbia, Slovakia, South Africa, Sweden, Latvia and others. 20 historic photos of the construction of Kegums Power Plant can also be viewed alongside the assets of the various peoples and nations of the world.