The museum is a treasure chest full of stories. The stories of the artworks, of the patrons who commissioned them, of the artists who created them. But also the stories of the people who look at them, who are moved by them, who are eager to ask them questions.
Emanuela Daffra, art historian and museum curator
“Brera: another story”, a project curated by Emanuela Daffra and Paola Strada (Pinacoteca di Brera Education Services) together with Simona Bodo, Silvia Mascheroni and Maria Grazia Panigada, is underpinned by this belief. Its main goal is to trigger new insights into the closer, more intense relationship which may be forged between artworks and individuals, thereby dispelling the elitist aura still surrounding many museums.
The key players of “Brera: another story” are eight museum mediators coming from Bosnia, Brazil, Egypt, Philippines, Italy, Peru, Senegal and Hungary. Their diverse backgrounds, knowledge systems, storytelling skills and personal insights provided new keys to the interpretation of Brera collections – always in a close “conversation” with museum curators –, adding to the complexity and richness of meanings “hidden” in each work of art, and waiting to be unveiled.
The cultural and social relevance of the project lies in the promotion of different levels of accessibility, by fostering a new familiarity between the museum and “new citizens”, by encouraging the participation of Italian non-visitors (with particular reference to youths), by promoting in regular museum-goers new ways of looking at the collections, and ultimately by going beyond policies targeting individuals and groups according to their origin and ethnicity.
The resulting intercultural trails, revolving around 23 artworks from Brera collections, were guided by mediators both individually (focussing on the artworks selected by each one of them) and in groups (i.e. organised around key thematic strands with a highly evocative and intercultural potential: “Important moments in life”, “An encounter”, “Places”, “Heaven and earth”, “From mother to son”, “Different perspectives on Saint Mark’s preaching in Alexandria, by Gentile and Giovanni Bellini”).
Each trail, free of charge, was open to a maximum of 12-15 participants, so as to facilitate personal interaction between visitors and museum mediators.