Ministero per i beni e le attività culturali e per il turismo

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Constant improvement of the museum story

Among the main objectives outlined by the Directorate General of museums for State Museums, constant improvement of the museum story is very important for 2019.

Main topics of the guidelines are:

  • whether it would be appropriate to revise and reprint the captions at a larger size than that traditionally used in museums that have not been renovated, and to mount them in positions that meet the needs of visitors (height and placing).
  • eliminating technical terms from captions that can only be understood by experts or scholars of the subject, and ending the use of fonts that result from style decisions, such as grey text on a white background or text in red lettering. New captions suggested by technical staff, or captions that are currently in use, will therefore require oversight by a communication officer.
  • that external signage is carefully considered, particularly if the museum is on a busy street, so that people can get an idea from the outside of what the collections contain and so that passers-by are also encouraged to visit. Avoid museums that only have external signs saying “Museum” and “Pay here”.
  • that whenever possible, the information from catalogues is transferred to the website and that this is included as a clause written into new publishing contracts. Catalogues that are innovative should be in a format that is convenient to use and easy to carry, which also means that the shipping cost will be sustainable. The most specialised part of the scholarly debate should be reflected in the specialist journals, if possible those that are recognised by ANVUR [the National Agency for the Evaluation of the University and Research Systems].
  • that every possible story recounted via images or texts is deployed, in order to contextualise the works on display, remembering the environments in which they originated (houses, churches, manors etc.) and where possible using not only the name, but also a portrait, of the author of a painting or other work, which is particularly pleasing to the younger generations and is useful for understanding a work in its context. Agreements with schools, academies, universities, or specific research centres are particularly appropriate for finding support and making comparisons when making decisions as well as, where possible, for support at the operational stages.
  • that the best and most sustainable experiences of digital communication are made use of in order to facilitate understanding of our heritage, an aspect to which this Directorate-General is particularly committed and that will shortly be the subject of further specific guidelines analysing the explosive proposal that exists, in order to indicate effective pathways for ensuring those “effective knowledge experiences” that are the true ultimate goal of everyone who works within and outside our museums and places of culture.