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The museum of the Faculty of Letters and Philosophy of the University of Catania

Author(s): Federica Maria Chiara Santagati

Journal: University Museums and Collections Journal
ISSN 2071-7229

Volume: 1;
Start page: 43;
Date: 2008;
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Keywords: Catania | Museums | Monastery

The University of Catania, founded in 1434, today has 15 museums, which were planned in 1997 and gradually opened over the following decade. The museum of the Faculty of Letters and Philosophy, known as the Museo della Fabbrica del Monastero dei Benedettini (Museum of the Benedictine Monastery Building), is housed in a section of the monumental complex of the Benedictine monastery, construction of which began in the sixteenth century. It is home to a small collection of objects which “narrates” the history of the monastery. // The monumental complex accommodates the Faculty of Letters and Philosophy. This building represents, in line with the cultural policy pursued by the faculty illustrated in this paper, the cultural heritage that is to be preserved, exhibited, communicated to and "shared" with the Catanese population. Thanks to this cultural policy of openness towards the public, which was introduced just a few years ago, the Faculty’s premises have become a vibrant museum, especially for those people living in the adjacent socially and economically deprived urban area called Antico Corso. The program for this neighborhood consists in the organization of events that aim at museum education and promote forms of social aggregation linking the university museum and the city: seminars on the development of the former Benedictine monastery, guided tours of the monastery for school pupils, exhibitions of their drawings related to these experiences, as well as further cultural events and educational programs. This new cultural policy has received an enthusiastic reaction from the citizens of the Antico Corso, who previously had contested the presence of the academy in the monastery building and had been totally unaware of its high cultural value.
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