Ministero per i beni e le attività culturali

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The (new) social role of museums

On 25th May, the final day of the Milan stage of Artlab 2018, the Director-General of Museums, Antonio Lampis, delivered a speech addressing the current theme of the (new) social role of museums and the activation of the National Museum System.

Artlab 2018 Milano

“Even today, comparing the concept of the National Museum System with the European Commission Decision no. 864 dated 17 May 2017, which launched the European Year of Cultural Heritage, is revealing. This decision underlines that the artistic and cultural heritage, which is largely housed in our museums, undervalues the positive externalities which it could generate for social, spiritual and cultural development; for employment, especially for young people and women; for the economic development of territories.

Being undervalued means that it needs greater attention and in order to receive greater attention, the European decision states, it will have to be entrusted to sustainable governance. Sustainable, therefore, is the watchword of this decision and achieving a sustainable management requires a participatory, multi-level governance among the various stakeholders and an enhanced cross-sector cooperation.

This is also the description of the National Museum System we are working on: a system conceived outside any hierarchical setup, based much more on connection than on belonging, in order that the central State, the Regions, the Municipalities and the other Local Authorities, as well as the Universities and the whole training system, may work together and better. I believe that bringing together almost 8,000 Italian museums represents a strong consolidation of our Cultural Heritage, also from the point of view of an improved tourist position which Italy can achieve within the international competition.


Connected museums mark a turning point in increasing the weight of their social impact, both from the point of view of employment, particularly as concerns the younger generations, strongly affected by the hyper-libertarian economy, and from the point of view of the social groups, traditionally excluded from cultural consumption, participating in knowledge of the heritage”.

The full speech (in Italian) is available on the website of the Giornale delle Fondazioni.