Trembling walls. When earthquakes change the identity of local museums

Gepostet 2017-07-24 13:53:13

Church of “Anime Sante” after the earthquake in 2009, photo courtesy Roberto Grillo

Last year the Central regions of Italy were affected by a set of tremendous seism and many tremors reawakened the fear in the area of L’Aquila, where a massive earthquake destroyed the city and the community in 2009. More than 300 people died and, since now, the city has been only partially reconstructed; in the meanwhile the community got crumbled as well as the walls. The most of the population moved out from the city and probably will never get back. Their homes are still not habitable and their job, their families, their kids started a new cycle of life elsewhere. As a consequence of that, the social fabric has deeply changed as well as the cultural agenda. Only last year the National Museum of L’Aquila opened its doors, but in a new building and in a different area of the city.

Spazio della Memoria, Fontecchio (L’Aquila), detail

This paper aims to examine how museums have changed in the perception of citizens and visitors and verify if the new display talks about the experience of the earthquake. Other museums in the area of L’Aquila were also opened a few years after 2009 and were dedicated to the memory of the city. In these terms, a focus will be dedicated to give voice to local museums to see how they interpret the point of no return for the community who stays and for the one that leaves.

Spazio della Memoria, Fontecchio (L’Aquila), detail

Local museums can become a key agent in the comprehension of the cultural identity and memory. They can represent privileged locations to enhance social inclusion, to talk about difficult stories, to rethink at the cultural implications of history. This is very true if we look at the international agenda and the need to face our past to comprehend where we are and where we are going.






Art Historian, Valeria Pica has been working since 2001 in museums and cultural institutions as educator and educational activities planner. She also works as adjunct professor for Museum Education at the AUR. From 2016 she is the Italian National Coordinator of ICOM Committee for Education and mediation.
valpica [at] / educazione_mediazione [at]

Images: Valeria Pica

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