Colonial Archives

The Italian war history Museum launches an important enhancement project, thanks to the Caritro Foundation

“Decolonizing Colonial Heritage. Photo archives on Italian colonialism between the end of the 19th century and the Second World War' is the title of the project presented by the War Museum for the Bando Archivi 2022 promoted by the Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Trento e Rovereto.

The project has obtained a grant that will enable the cataloguing, digitisation and online publication of more than 5,000 photos preserved by the Italian war history Museum and the City Museum Foundation of Rovereto, relating to Italian colonial events and, in particular, to the experience of Trentino soldiers.

There are a total of 13 collections and photo archives deposited at the Italian War History Museum and at the Trentino Historical Museum Foundation, most of which include material produced by Trentino military personnel, but also of different origins.

The project will allow online access - on the portal - to a vast corpus of photographs relating to Italian colonialism hitherto unpublished and not otherwise available for consultation. This corpus is the third Italian digital collection pertaining to colonial photographic material and will be of interest not only to historians but also to scholars in other disciplinary fields such as anthropology, ethnography, geography, and museography, as well as to the curious and enthusiasts.

The digitisation and cataloguing will take into account the entire national colonial experience (from the end of the 19th century to 1945) and will adopt international guidelines in dealing with such materials, 'decolonising' the semantic approach contained in the original captions and descriptions. An important step for an objective and balanced restitution of one of the most discussed pages of Italian history.

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