The historical analysis of museums’ Public History practices brings the relation between science and public use of history – often regarded as antithetical - into the historiographical dimension. In order to reflect on the social and political implications of these types of narration of the past, our research reconstructs the formation and development of the collection of the Great War sources from Milan Museum of Risorgimento between the two World Wars. By taking the standpoint of Cultural History, our research questions the role that the historical imagery, embodied in a museum installation, has had in the process of nationalization of the masses in Italy. The follow-up on the figure and work of Antonio Monti (Director, 1925-45) enabled us to frame the process of formation and development of the War Archive-Museum within a social, political and scientific context that clarifies the knowledge gathered so far about the dynamics between center and periphery, as well as about the phases of the memory of war. Besides the study of documentary sources of various nature from Milan’s Civiche Raccolte Storiche (eg. paper documents, correspondence, memorabilia, graphics), the research made use of published sources (brochures, volumes, periodics) and proper archival sources. Among the primary archival sources, the main ones are the registers, card files, catalogs, and the other sets of documentation produced by the museum. The material and immaterial aspects of these sources have been analyzed from both a qualitative and a quantitative point of view. Starting from the archive analysis, from the study of the document management system, and finanlly from the relation between organized and described space, the museum practices concerning the Great War narration have been mainly construed as a material organization of the space (respectively in the archive, in the library, and in the museum). The museum history of the sources reshapes the relational network that gives meaning to the preserved historic heritage, shifting the focus from the immateriality of the representations to the materiality of the sources. On the other hand, the interpretative synthesis made use of anthropological cathegories: within the continuous exchange between reality and imagination, the museum acts as a resignification device that, through the actions of gathering, organizing and displaying, modifies the relational network between the sources, therefore changing their meaning. The history museum enshrines a social pact with the public through the gift, and becomes the scenery of a rite of passage that accomodates the reaggregation of private memories into the public dimension of the history of the nation. Through this rite, the meaning of the war experience is turned from a traumatic event linked to mourning, into a rigeneration myth, thus continuing the action of the Risorgimento. In conclusion, the analysis of the Milan case has allowed us to highlight the specificity of relational networks, unravelling the different meanings hidden by the oleographic representation consistent with the “totalitarian memory” imposed by the Fascist regime. Lastly, the scientific approach emerging from such practices of public use of history has been identified in the production of instruments that allow one to account for the spatial movement of the sources during their museum history.

(2018). Raccogliere, ordinare ed esporre nei musei storici. Le fonti della Grande guerra nel Museo del Risorgimento di Milano tra storia culturale e Archival Turn (1915-1943). (Tesi di dottorato, Università degli Studi di Milano, 2018).

Raccogliere, ordinare ed esporre nei musei storici. Le fonti della Grande guerra nel Museo del Risorgimento di Milano tra storia culturale e Archival Turn (1915-1943)

TACCOLA, GREGORIO
2018-02-13

Abstract

The historical analysis of museums’ Public History practices brings the relation between science and public use of history – often regarded as antithetical - into the historiographical dimension. In order to reflect on the social and political implications of these types of narration of the past, our research reconstructs the formation and development of the collection of the Great War sources from Milan Museum of Risorgimento between the two World Wars. By taking the standpoint of Cultural History, our research questions the role that the historical imagery, embodied in a museum installation, has had in the process of nationalization of the masses in Italy. The follow-up on the figure and work of Antonio Monti (Director, 1925-45) enabled us to frame the process of formation and development of the War Archive-Museum within a social, political and scientific context that clarifies the knowledge gathered so far about the dynamics between center and periphery, as well as about the phases of the memory of war. Besides the study of documentary sources of various nature from Milan’s Civiche Raccolte Storiche (eg. paper documents, correspondence, memorabilia, graphics), the research made use of published sources (brochures, volumes, periodics) and proper archival sources. Among the primary archival sources, the main ones are the registers, card files, catalogs, and the other sets of documentation produced by the museum. The material and immaterial aspects of these sources have been analyzed from both a qualitative and a quantitative point of view. Starting from the archive analysis, from the study of the document management system, and finanlly from the relation between organized and described space, the museum practices concerning the Great War narration have been mainly construed as a material organization of the space (respectively in the archive, in the library, and in the museum). The museum history of the sources reshapes the relational network that gives meaning to the preserved historic heritage, shifting the focus from the immateriality of the representations to the materiality of the sources. On the other hand, the interpretative synthesis made use of anthropological cathegories: within the continuous exchange between reality and imagination, the museum acts as a resignification device that, through the actions of gathering, organizing and displaying, modifies the relational network between the sources, therefore changing their meaning. The history museum enshrines a social pact with the public through the gift, and becomes the scenery of a rite of passage that accomodates the reaggregation of private memories into the public dimension of the history of the nation. Through this rite, the meaning of the war experience is turned from a traumatic event linked to mourning, into a rigeneration myth, thus continuing the action of the Risorgimento. In conclusion, the analysis of the Milan case has allowed us to highlight the specificity of relational networks, unravelling the different meanings hidden by the oleographic representation consistent with the “totalitarian memory” imposed by the Fascist regime. Lastly, the scientific approach emerging from such practices of public use of history has been identified in the production of instruments that allow one to account for the spatial movement of the sources during their museum history.
Soresina, Marco
Prima Guerra Mondiale; Musei; Archivi; Milano
Italian
Storia, cultura e teorie della società e delle istituzioni
30
2016/2017
Università degli Studi di Milano
(2018). Raccogliere, ordinare ed esporre nei musei storici. Le fonti della Grande guerra nel Museo del Risorgimento di Milano tra storia culturale e Archival Turn (1915-1943). (Tesi di dottorato, Università degli Studi di Milano, 2018).
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/10281/268175
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