The Documentation Centre/Archive of the Wool Museum of UBI was created in 1997, in the scope of the communitarian project ARQUEOTEX (FEDER 10, Vertente Cultura), and it was inaugurated in April 30th, 1998. Its creation aimed to safeguard the wool industry memory and to support the research development, specially in the domains of the textile industrial and business-related history, at a local, regional and national level. Between 1998 and 2004, this Centre was temporarily established at the former Offices of a Weaving Workshop and Manufacturing Section of José Paulo de Oliveira Júnior’s textile company, located at Joaquim Pessoa Street, no. 5, in Covilhã. The building was acquired and recovered by UBI in 1997 to receive the funds and the documental collections coming from public and private entities that developed several works and activities in the textile industry. From all of them, we can point out the incorporations coming from companies whose buildings and goods have been acquired by UBI, as well as the donations made by institutions, businessmen and also textile technicians and workers.
The conclusion of the Documentation Centre/Archive creation has allowed the Wool Museum of UBI to start the first intervention to incorporate and preserve the business-related archives, through the safeguarding of documental sources about the textile activity, that survived from the loss of some of the most significant textile companies from Covilhã as well as local and national textile institutions and associations, after the accentuated and sudden reconversion undergone by the textile industry, in the eighties and nineties of the 20th century. In fact, the first step to stop the destruction process of the textile documental sources was taken in 1991, with the support of City Hall of Covilhã (CMC) and Technological Centre of the Textile and Clothing Industry (CITEVE), when the archives of the headquarters of the National Federation of the Textile Industry and the Textile Industrials Society of Covilhã were transferred, by the Museum initiative, to provisional places in Covilhã, ceded by the CMC, with the aim of being incorporated in the Wool Museum.
The documents funds of the Textile Industrials Society of Gouveia were also collected, meanwhile located by the Work Group of the Wool, of the Portuguese Association of Industrial Archaeology (responsible for the Royal Textile Factory Nucleus musealisation), and, consecutively, the Textile Conditioning funds, of the Regulating Commission of the Raw-Cotton Trading and of the Textile Institute.
From 1996 on, some business related archives have been collected, with a private scope, at risk of being lost. From these archives, we can point out the Archives of the Wool Transformation Company, of the companies Francisco Mendes Alçada, José Henriques da Fonseca, Jerónimo da Costa Sena and the Alçada Manufacture. In the sequence of these interventions, several businessmen of Covilhã offered the remaining manufacturing archives and personal remains, because they were conscious of the need to preserve the living memories of a city and a region that lived according to the exclusive and specialised work of wool.
That way, it was possible to locate and gather a documental patrimony which is a faithful depot of the history of the city, the region and some of the most significant textile association at a national level that, in 1997 was transferred and centralised in the provisional structures ceded and recovered by the University of Beira Interior.
Nevertheless, due to the attained dimension by the funds and documental collections and to the need of promoting the suitable preservation conditions and securing better working and functioning conditions, the installations quickly became obsolete and ineffective to serve as a Historic Archive.
In 2004, after the University of Beira Interior acquisition, in 1997, of the set of buildings of the Royal Veiga Factory, near the Goldra Stream and the execution of the architectonic rehabilitation work financed by the Centre Operational Programme POCENTRO – AIBT/Serra da Estrela, the Documentation Centre/Archive .was transferred to new installations. Besides the Documentation Centre/Archive, this building integrates the headoffice, the administrative and technique areas of the Wool Museum, as well as the Museological Nucleus of the Wool Industrialisation
The building was inaugurated on April, 30th, 2005, with a gross area of about 12,000 m², from which the Documentation Centre/Archive .takes up about 470 m². In the present installations, there is a public area – Reference Room/Consultation – and a private areas – with Documental and Textile depots, which take up an area of about 332 m² with the storage and environmental conditions suitable for the documentation type that it receives, and the Technical Rooms aimed to the cleaning, disinfection and purification and to the documental organisation and description. Still, it benefits from the use of the existing public areas in the Wool Manufacture Interpretation Centre/Royal Veiga Factory building which also integrates the Wool Industrialisation Museological Nucleus like the Reception, the Auditorium, the Temporary Exhibition area, the Textile Workshop/Atelier and the Living Area, the Cafeteria/Bar and the Terrace which are at users’ service of this Documentation Centre/ Historic Archive, as well as the Museum visitors and the community in general