The visitor is
invited to experience the museum and its eleven rooms - each exploring a
different theme - starting from the second floor.
The exhibition starts with a first little multimedia
room inside room no. 1. The visitor can choose from four different videos
dealing with the history of Istria.
A big cutout of Istria decorates the ceiling of the
multimedia room and of the archeological section. In this section many valuable
archaeological finds of the Istrian and Dalmatian areas are on display. These
items are part of the Civic Museum of History and Art of Trieste collection,
including the “Istrian kid”, a Greek bronze goat discovered in Pirano dating
back to ca. 500 - 400 BC.
On one of the walls, a timeline shows the
chronological development of the Istrian, Fiuman and Dalmatian history. Each
highlighted period of time can be explored thanks to the touchscreen below and
its informative content ordered into 34 files.
On the other wall you will see three cartographic maps
of Istria, each showing a different historical period.
The following section is divided into three rooms and displays the material heritage.
Symbolic items are exhibited in order to get an insight into Istrian life: fragments of the past trying to recreate a lost universe of religion, tradition, social life and folk music. Among the items on display, the visitor can admire sacred and secular works from the collection of the Magazzino 18 (old harbour), jewels from Dignano and a musical instrument called “bassetto” similar to a basset horn.
The room is dedicated to an element that is firmly tied to the Istrian population, that shaped their lives through its abundance and scarcity: water. Sea, fishing, slipways, boats and ships, saltworks, water supply and tourism are the protagonists of this section, described through objects, videos and photos.
A wooden footbridge
introduces the visitor to a journey of artifacts literally linked to the
Istrian land, to its soil: haymaking, beekeeping, tillage, wine making, etc.
All displayed items lie on the red Istrian soil scattered around the central
pathway and are the result of long researches carried out by Roberto Starec and
Sergio Sergas. Videos from historical archives are played on the screens. The
walls are decorated with close-ups of life in the countryside before the second
world war, taken by photographers Ugo Pellis and Paul Scheuermeier.
Items of a drugstore from Koper and a goldsmiths from
Pirano have been brought to Italy by their owners, forced to leave their land
after the second world war. It’s a symbolic journey into the life of
handworkers, tradesmen and company owners of Istria, Fiume and Dalmatia.
This room looks like a classroom with nine desks,
which are, at the same time, display cases of antique copybooks and stationery.
The goal is to present a comprehensive picture of the former school systems in
Istria, Fiume and Dalmatia. At the back of the class the teacher’s desk serves
as showcase for textbooks used in Italian schools of Istria. Once again the
material was originally part of the Magazzino 18 collection.
The route continues on the third floor.
Discover Istria, Fiume and Dalmatia through its
literature, art, music and photography. The visitor takes part to a symbolic
tour from Muggia to the Bay of Kotor and comes in touch with famous
personalities, quotations, photos, books, music, paintings and sculptures.
After this initial cultural journey, a slanted wall
takes the visitor to a dark room where a video shows the tragedy of the second
world war with records of historical testimonies.
Outside the dark room the visitor will have to go
through a narrow hallway packed with trunks, luggage and bundles. We are now
leaving Istria, Fiume and Dalmatia. Three panels depict the three main stages
of the exodus. A monitor plays original videos of that difficult period.
An alienating atmosphere lingers in the air because of
the close-ups of the Magazzino 18 (the old harbour of Trieste) and of the exiled
people’s objects. The black ceiling leaves the electric cables and light bulbs
exposed, thus evoking a temporary and precarious place, exactly as the first
places the exiled people set foot in.
In the middle of the room there is a big mirror
symbolically standing for all the household objects and the thousands of lives
shaped by the exodus. On the walls the visitor can read different panels
showing figures and giving information about refugee centres, refugee
settlements, organizations run by exiled people and the history behind the
The visit ends symbolically in the kitchen with an
original hood and “fogolèr” (oven), as well as other original kitchen tools,
taken from the Magazzino 18. Information about food and eating habits will be
soon available on one of the walls as an example of preservation of the collective
memory and cultural identity.
On the ground floor you will also find the ticket office and gift shop, a multimedia room for personal consultation, the congress hall and the temporary exhibitions.