“Scenes of festivity”. Archaeology as a bridge between cultures

City Museum Archaeological Section - “Ponzone Wing” | Cremona


· City Museum Archaeological Section – “Ponzone Wing”, Cremona (leading partner)
· Partner institutions: local nursery, primary and secondary schools; City of Cremona – Education Department; Fondazione ISMU (Initiatives and Studies on Multiethnicity) – Education Unit.


Funding bodies
City of Cremona.


· to promote the “heritage awareness” of young citizens, both autochthonous and of immigrant background
· to awaken the local community to the potential of cultural heritage as a vehicle of integration
· to promote and coordinate intercultural actions based on museum collections.


Target groups
Students from local schools and their families.


Duration of the project
September 2007 – May 2008.


Project description
The pilot project started with the training of teachers who agreed to take part in the experimentation. One year earlier, some of the museum operators had taken part in Fondazione ISMU’s training and action-research programme “Cultural Heritage and Integration” (2005-2006), and they shared their experience, documentation and bibliography with the rest of the group.
Teacher training was aimed on the one hand at providing them with a wider knowledge of the archaeological collections of the Museum, on the other at clarifying the project’s strategies, methodologies and objectives; opportunities for debate and participatory planning were envisaged so as to develop educational activities based on identified needs.
The project’s working phases were structured as follows:
· a visit to the Museum to familiarise with the collections, focussing on objects representing scenes of festivity;
· workshop activities (to be defined in close collaboration with the teacher) devoted to looking at festivities in the ancient world through direct interaction with objects, as well as with the support of iconographic, literary and cinematographic materials prepared by the museum staff; the main aim of these workshops was to compare ancient and contemporary cultures (Italian regions / countries of origin of immigrant students) through the exploration of specific aspects of festivity such as food, music, dance;
· additional school meetings to deal with specific issues concerning the theme of festivity;
· formative evaluation carried out with teachers, and choice of a theme on which they could focus and keep on working during the rest of the school year (always with the support of museum educators);
· a final event (e.g. exhibition) to present the activities carried out throughout the year.
All activities were coordinated by the museum curator and education staff.
Many disciplines were involved, ranging from history (with a particular attention to ethno-anthropological issues) to arts education, history of art, music and physical education (particularly in relation to dance).


Lessons to be learned
The fascination of archaeological objects was a key factor to engage students in activities in which all were equal participants, allowing them to recognise common roots while at the same time learning to respect difference.
An original methodology to approach history and history of art was developed also for younger children (nursery schools), playing on the awesomeness of faraway worlds on the one hand, an on a direct connection with everyday life (festivity, music, dance, food) on the other.
Finally, close cooperation between museum staff and teachers allowed the project team to draw from a range of different expertise and skills, with a common goal.

Contact details
City Museum “Ponzone Wing”, Archaeology Section
via Ugolani Dati, 4  – 26100 Cremona
tel. 0372.407764 (education services)
– Marina Volonté, curator
tel. 0372.407759

Target Groups

Pupils from local schools and their families