On November 28, 2019, the Museum of Anthropology and Ethnology of Florence will celebrate its 150th founding anniversary and will participate in the 2019 edition of Museomix. The moment allows a rethinking of the entire institution, beginning from its original mission, then moving toward an accessible, shared contemporary vision by opening a dialog and discussion with a wider and diversified public. The objective is to communicate the enormous value of the museum’s collections through a critical study of the past with an eye toward an open and civil future. In order to obtain a larger community of reference, the museum intends to engage the local population which lives and works daily in the same territory as the institution. The museum will also bridge to the large student community found in Florence and the community of foreigners. We also intend to engage those associations involved in social work promoting social integration, intercultural dialog and welcoming of migrants. We hope that various groups will actively participate in the revitalization of the museum so that its mission will become more contemporary and elevate its socio-cultural value.
The Museum of Anthropology and Ethnology of Florence holds a vast collection of ethnological objects from Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas, which were gathered over a period of five centuries. The original nucleus originated from the Medicean collections and later, from the 18th-century holdings of Grand Duke Pietro Leopoldo. The Museum was founded in 1869 by Paolo Mantegazza in a crucial period for the creation of the Italian identity, when Florence was the capital of the new-born Italian nation state. Mantegazza’s viewed the new science of anthropology as the “Natural History of Man”, a holistic field of study integrating both biology and culture. During the colonial/fascist period, the Museum was transferred to the prestigious Palazzo Nonfinito (“Unfinished Palace”) where it is still housed.
Firenze – Museo di Antropologia ed Etnologia
Museo di Antropologia ed Etnologia di Firenze - Museo di Storia Naturale
Sistema Museale di Ateneo - Università degli Studi di Firenze
Palazzo Nonfinito Via del Proconsolo, 12
From 1st September to 30th June: Tuesday/Sunday, from 9am to 5pm // From 1st July to 31th August: Tuesday/Thursday from 9am to 5pm - Friday/Sunday, from 9am to 1pm
Activate the strategy of contact with the cultures represented in the museum’s collections in order to better define and more correctly interpret the objects. From the decolonization perspective, collaborative anthropology is an essential approach to resolve contradictions inherent in the conservation and valorization of the artifacts. Collaborative anthropology requires a profound rethinking of the theoretical and methodological context associated with research and civic diffusion. Only in this way is it possible for the museum to become a bridge promoting dialog between peoples. It can become a zone of encounter and contact to develop interactions between people with the view to eliminate the cultural barriers, stereotypes and prejudices.
The museum is characterized by an enormous variety of artifacts (many are hidden away in the storerooms because the structure is limited and does not allow a complete vision of the collection). The artifacts have diverse, historic, geographic and sociocultural origins. The result is a density of different contents that needs to be communicated in a more efficient use of the halls already overloaded at the limit of their expositive and architectonic possibilities.
Tell and communicate the stories tied to the passion for adventure and for knowledge that has always characterized the collection of ethno-anthropological objects. Most artifacts closed within the display cases are a personification of the adventures and exploration undertaken by the most important Italian ethno-voyagers of the 1800s. The collection illustrates the origins of ethno-anthropological disciplines in Italy but also the map of the many voyages made by those explorers who have contributed to create a national identity through the comparison of the diversity represented by these distant peoples.