Objects, myths and memories from corporate museums and business archives

Italian corporate museums and business archives host vast, well-structured collections made up of a formidable variety of material: films and photographs, products and prototypes, sketches, posters, letters, drawings and other documents that enable us to retrace more than a hundred years of history. Corporate museums and business archives preserve the amazing evidence of changes in models of production and consumption, relationships and expression. They help us to retrace the history of companies, brands and products that are ingrained in our memory or figure in our daily lives and that often have a social and symbolic meaning above and beyond the technology and their economic value. They help us to understand how and when these companies and their products became part of our culture. They reveal the care, passion, genius and effort behind the products that we use every day, without ever asking ourselves where they come from or how they were created. They play an important role in maintaining a link between the companies’ historical legacy and their plans for the future.

This exhibition is inspired by the extensive collections of the more than fifty museums and archives which are part of the Museimpresa Association, and conjures up the amazing stories of the people, companies and objects that have left their mark on our society and culture. It unfolds through four “thematic areas” – History and Memory, Myth and Passion, Discovery and Wonder, Identity and Innovation – that illustrate how museums and archives represent an important bridge between our past, present and future. The objects on display are a small but significant part of some collections that, taken as a whole, offer an amazing picture of the evolution of society and material culture over more than a century of Italian history. They remind us of the important role that the business world has played in shaping and enriching our society and our culture.

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