The culture of a particular people or region is formed by a complex set of values, beliefs, symbols and habits, as well as material and immaterial forms of expression and communication. These forms of expression define an identity for society and are represented in literature, music, dance, gastronomy, historical-architectural heritage, handicraft, etc. It is an amalgam that translates into a sense of belonging to a particular social group and also to a territory, and that is passed from generation to generation, thus perpetuating itself in time.
Rio Grande do Sul is influenced by a great range of cultures originating in the process of occupation and colonization of its territory, and the cultural facilities are important elements for its preservation and dissemination. These spaces play a fundamental role for the appreciation of cultural manifestations and their sharing with the public. Museums, libraries, theaters, cultural centers, film libraries, pinacothecas and art galleries, amphitheatres, music halls, tradition centers, fair pavilions, etc. serve these purposes.
There are numerous cultural facilities that allow public access to the most diverse cultural manifestations in RS. Among these are museums and public libraries. According to SEM – Sistema Estadual de Museus (State System of Museums), the State had, in 2016, 383 museums distributed in 7 museological regions¹. In 2016, according to the Sistema Estadual de Bibliotecas Públicas (State System of Public Libraries), it also had 532 public libraries and numerous theaters, art galleries, cinemas, bookstores, reading and memorial places, among other cultural facilities. Museums and public libraries are part of SEM/RS, linked to IBRAM (Instituto Brasileiro de Museus –Brazilian Institute of Museums) and SEBPRS (Sistema Estadual de Bibliotecas Públicas – State System of Public Libraries), established in 1981 and linked to Sistema Nacional de Bibliotecas Públicas (National System of Public Libraries).
¹ According to Rede Nacional de Identificação de Museus – MUSEUSBR (National Museums Identification Network), in a worksheet dated January 28, 2018, the State currently has 463 museums (In: http://museus.cultura.gov.br/).