Beatrice Falcucci

«Nigirizia o Morte!». Missionary collecting and displaying from the Italian colonies (1858-1939)

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Italian colonialism, missionary museums, African missions, Guglielmo Massaia, Ethiopian Museum

The aim of this article is to highlight the presence of objects from the Italian colonies in the country’s missionary museums, questioning both the artefacts and their collecting and display practices. The analysis will be carried out starting with the arrival of the first African objects in early Europe by the missionaries who traveled in Africa in the modern age, emphasising how the acquisition process changed with the unification of the Kingdom of Italy and the debut of Italian colonialism. In fact, these objects underwent constant reinterpretation and «re-reading», and different meanings were attributed to them in different eras. The case study of the «Guglielmo Massaia Museum in Frascati», later «Ethiopian Museum Guglielmo Massaia», will be analysed, as a paradigmatic example of this phenomenon of change of meaning between the Liberal age and Fascism. Finally, the paper will conclude with some considerations on the positionality of these collections today

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