Piazza del Soprammuro, 1, Gualdo Tadino, (Perugia)
Regional Museum of Emigration “Pietro Conti” The Museo Regionale dell’Emigrazione Pietro Conti—Centro Ricerca sull’Emigrazione Italiana is a Museum and a Research Center, hosted in Palazzo Podestà, in the city center of Gualdo Tadino, a small town in the north-east area of Umbria near the border with the Marche region. The Museum premises are inside the palace that once was the residence of the Podestà, the highest judicial and military magistrate in medieval Italian Communes. The 13th century Civic Tower is what remains today of this old manor, the Baroque lantern was added to it in later times. The Museum was born to recover the memory of the migration experience and recounts—through voices, sounds, images, documents and objects—the fortunes of a population’s massive exodus “to far away lands” offering its youth, work, crafts and culture to the world. The Regional Museum of Emigration is dedicated to the memory of Pietro Conti, who was the first President of the Regione Umbria—head of the regional administrative authority office—and is the first Museum completely dedicated to this subject. The unique collection of materials documents Italian emigration abroad, from the end of the 19th century up to the 1960s. The Museum is also a Research Center, which leads studies and research on migration movements of the Umbrian population. It absolves the function of a didactic laboratory, and the schools participating in the project are numerous. In addition, publications are produced on the subject. The documentation center has a Video Library, collecting catalogued audio-visual documentaries and news reports. The RAI—Italian Radio and Television broadcaster—also contributed to implementing the material collected by duplicating and donating everything they had on the subject to the Museum. Even TVs from other countries have done the same, contributing to the aim of the Museum of collecting as much material as possible to build a Video Library that is a national reference point. Moreover, the Library collects all the texts and volumes relating to the phenomena of migration, with particular concern for the migration of the Italian people abroad. The exhibition itinerary travels back in time: the arrival, the journey and the departure. The first section immediately introduces the visitor into the daily life of the emigrant abroad: the aggregation in community, food, religion, employment, and particularly to the reconstruction of the kind of work done in Iron and Coalmines. The central subject of the second section is the migrant’s journey: rare and moving images of transoceanic crossings, display monitors emerge from old cardboard suitcases and trunks, bell sounds recounting precious testimonies of arduous and perilous journeys aboard in slow and packed ships. Finally, the third section deals with the departure and the reasons that led millions of Italians to migrate to foreign countries: difficulties in integration, the production of the many documents required to not be rejected at the border, Identity cards with fingerprints, passports, “able body” health certificates.