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Inaugurated on 24th June 1959, the MICR is the first and main museum institution dedicated to the origins of the Red Cross.
The choice of venue was far from random: Palazzo Longhi Triulzi in Castiglione delle Stiviere (MN), Mantua, Italy.
It was in Castiglione, in the aftermath of the bloody battle of Solferino, that the Geneva entrepreneur, Henry Dunant, helped to organise the relief work promoted by the town’s women for thousands of wounded people, without discrimination of nationality or origin.
Today, the MICR is a place of profound collective memory, a space for reflecting on shared values and principles and on current events and necessity of history as an irreplaceable tool for mediating with the present.
AN EVOLVING MUSEUM
Since 2018, the Italian Red Cross has undertaken an important and gradual redevelopment of the Museum to enhance the collections, improve accessibility and update its cultural offering, diversifying languages and tools to request public participation and stimulate a sense of belonging to a community.
Starting from a reflection on its mission, several complementary pathways were outlined.
On the one hand, a rethinking of the physical space that would enhance the heritage and allow opportunities for sharing and direct experience, providing a joint area between the outdoors and the collection areas, with a bar, a garden equipped for families and bikers, interactive rooms and a pre-ticket office. On the other hand, a redefinition of the tools for dialogue with the public and interaction with other territorial realities and socio-cultural institutions.
Hence the assignment to Alterstudio Partners of the new functional, architectural and distribution project for the MICR’s layout and interiors .
At the same time, an up-to-date cataloguing of the assets and a reorganisation of the resources was undertaken, activating cooperation with other institutions and territorial Red Cross Committees.
Projects such as Historytelling. Telling, sharing, enhancing museum heritage and Fil Rouge, carried out with the contribution of the Lombardy Region, introduced interactive technologies in the Museum, and started a training course for museum operators and volunteers on the themes of accessibility and enhancement of collections.
In 2020, despite the closures imposed by the Covid-19 health emergency, the Museum continued to make its voice heard online and produced the play, Aren’t there enough reasons not to be taken aback? to make the history of the Red Cross known outside the associative context and to share an experience in person at two repeat performances, in Castiglione delle Stiviere and Brescia.
To preserve the historical heritage of the origins of the Red Cross and of International Humanitarian Law in order to promote, especially towards the younger generations, a culture based on Humanity, Unity and Universality, among the founding principles of the Red Cross.
- To preserve, increase and make fully usable, also through the use of the web, the historical heritage of the Red Cross in the world.
- To be a place of social aggregation and a point of reference for the community, understood both in a territorial sense and as a common space for sharing principles.
- To be a hub in a network, including an online network, of cultural structures at local, regional, national and international level.
- To be a place for the dissemination of cultural policies and the promotion of information, strongly centred on multimedia and current affairs, friendly, able to make its information and documentary resources fully accessible, and equipped with a wide range of services and contents for users of all ages and with different needs.
- Enabling the convergence and integration of cultural, study, work, socialisation and creative leisure activities.
- To be an information and training institution, supporting study and training activities.