M9: The Museum of the Italian History during the 20th century and a Multimedia centre

On Decembre 1st, 2018 there was the opening of M9: it is not only a multimedia Museum about the Italian 20th century, but also a very modern centre of technological innovation. Immerse yourself in a multimedia experience to visit the past, understand the present and conjure up the future.
The Fondazione di Venezia is giving the city, Italy and the world a national museum so that the Italian people may get to know the century that most contributed to forging their modern identity in the conviction that knowledge is an indispensable starting point from which to design an individual and collective future. Italy previously had no such museum. By conceiving and creating the Museum of the 20th century (M9), the Fondazione di Venezia fills this gap and creates a place where Italians can not only rediscover where they come from but also understand how their rich but contradictory past helps build the future.
For Italy, perhaps more so than for other countries, the 20th century was that of the greatest contradictions: rapid and previously unthinkable improvements in the living conditions and wellbeing of the population occurred alongside huge tragedies such as the most destructive wars in historic memory and unprecedented economic recessions. These developments and the devastation impacted profoundly on Italy’s living conditions, habits and culture well into the 21st century.

This collective journey unfolded over more than a century and is brought to life in an original, innovative and emotionally engaging museum that adopts multimedia and interactive technology to serve historical narration. Visitors are immersed in the changing culture, lifestyles, natural/urban landscapes, sciences and ways of working that typified the acceleration imposed by history on the 20th century and which is ongoing. They will understand the actions by the population, economy and politics behind these changes and that interacted with them.
They will experience the emotion of being in a crowded square listening to great orators; they will feel crushed by the experience of two huge wars; they will realise the harshness of factory work, being subjected to the pace of the assembly line; they can immerse themselves in the clothing, houses and kitchens of their great-grandparents, grandparents and parents, reliving their everyday lives; they will see the countryside and the cities change; they will rediscover all the Italian dialects, and so much more. The Museum of the 20th century is a place – some have called it the “piazza” – where Italians and all those interested in Italy can meet, explore their origins and how the things around us developed, as well as how to project them into the future.
The Museum is a live and constantly evolving organism, as dictated by technology. It will be renewed every year, adopting the culture and methods of a workshop driven by cultural, technological, social and political change, in the knowledge that history is always revisited but from the stance of today’s problems and a strong focus on changes that look to the future.
The Museum will be in the centre of Mestre, itself the barycentre of a dynamic metropolitan area (surrounded by Venice, Treviso and Padua) with a population of more than 2,5 million. Overlooking the great Venetian Lagoon, it is a unique workshop of the huge social, economic, cultural and environmental changes of the 20th century, of which it is both symbol and custodian.

The Museum is centred around eight large theme sections, each offering different and complementary experiences: emotion, engagement, general information, myriads of historical details to be explored at will, the stories of people, families and enterprises. Approach modes will be suggested, based on each visitor’s interests and needs: those interested in the big picture of Italian history; those keen to explore specific aspects, for high school and university students, for children, for Italians living abroad, descendants of those who emigrated and found a new homeland without ever abandoning that of their origin.