67497 - Archaeological Museography

Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Paolo Bolzani

  • Credits 6

  • SSD L-ART/04

  • Teaching Mode Traditional lectures

  • Language Italian

  • Campus of Ravenna

  • Degree Programme Second cycle degree programme (LM) in History, preservation and enhancement of artistic and archaeological heritage and landscape (cod. 9218)

  • Teaching resources on Virtuale

  • Course Timetable from Feb 02, 2022 to Mar 10, 2022


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Quality education Decent work and economic growth Sustainable cities

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

The course aims to transmit in-depth theoretical and practical knowledge on the debate on archaeological museum installations. It intends to provide a precise framework of reference for the definition of the epistemological status of the discipline of museography, expressly applied to the archaeological exhibition context. At the end of the course the student masters the discipline that concerns the dynamics inherent in the design transcription of a museological proposal and deals with the design and construction of buildings, museum spaces, installations and museum itineraries; He is able to grapple with various cases of museographic set-up, applied both to permanent exhibitions (museums) and to temporary exhibitions (exhibitions), as regards museum spaces (reception and information, management services and services for the public, visitor-archaeological object relationship), exhibition solutions (paths, showcases and display cases, supports, colors), educational supports (visit itineraries, signage, communication plan, IT solutions), hints of plant engineering (lighting and air conditioning).

Course contents

The main features of the historical evolution of museography will be illustrated, applied to the exhibition and conservation of archaeological finds from excavations or from existing collections, gathered in the contemporary archaeological museum, intended as a place of conservation and transmission of memory within an exhibition container. . This will take place starting from a survey on the evolution of the museum as it was formed between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, to arrive at the illustration of some emblematic national cases (Uffizi, MArTa, Crypta Balbi, MANN, Egyptian Museum of Turin), up to to the great museums of international importance (Vatican Museums, Musée du Louvre, British Museum, the places of Museum Insel).

The intent is to reveal the double matrix of the archaeological museum, formed by the convergence between the instances of the museum of ancient art and those relating to the scientific approach developed in the naturalistic museum. Therefore, brief insights will be devoted to the components of the exhibition project, using the form tool, an investigation tool used for many years. We will investigate the value of determining elements such as context, container, content, communication, visit path, types of exhibition supports, control of light and environmental conditions, from the point of view of object-visitor and space-light relationships, in order to optimize of museum communication within a setting that is functional to it. A specific session will therefore be dedicated to the theme of standard and multimedia museum communication, calibrated to the identification of various types of visitors, in synergy with the application of ergonomic and anthropometric principles and the recognition of the peculiarities of some target visitors: school groups, seniors, visitors with motor and / or cognitive diversity.

A final session will be dedicated to the issues identified in archaeological sites (areas and parks), investigating in particular the relationship between archaeological and landscape emergencies and communication of the original context, evaluating the choices concerning the coverage of areas at risk and physical or digital reconstructions.


1. D. Manacorda, Il sito archeologico: fra ricerca e valorizzazione, Carocci editore, Roma 2007

2. G. Pinna, Il museo verso l'ignoto, pp.3-10; A. Zifferero, Allestimenti museografici e identità storica dei musei, pp.59-79; M. Marini Calvani, Dallo scavo al museo e ritorno, pp. 125-129, in Archeologia del museo. I caratteri originali del museo e la sua documentazione storica fra conservazione e comunicazione, Editrice Compositori, Bologna 2004

3. J. Clair, La crisi dei musei. La globalizzazione della cultura, Skira, Milano 2008

4. P. Bolzani, «Lo spazio delle Muse. Una proposta metodologica per l’analisi e il progetto di esposizioni permanenti e temporanee di tipo archeologico», in Ocnus, Rivista della Scuola di specializzazione di Alma mater, DiSCi, 22, 2014, 141-159

5. P. Bolzani, «Il progetto di allestimento come parte del progetto di comunicazione. Dalla Domus dei Tappeti a Tamo», in E. Gennaro (a cura di), Musei: narrare, allestire, comunicare, Collana del Sistema museale della Provincia di Ravenna, Quaderni di didattica museale, 14, 2012, 67-76

Teaching methods

Lessons will be held in frontal mode in the classroom and remotely in emergency mode within the limits allowed by the health conditions of the country. The lessons will be integrated with visits to restoration laboratories and museums of particular interest, reachable by public transport in a relatively short time, such as Tamo and Classis in Ravenna or the Civic Archaeological Museum of Bologna or the Museum of the History of Bologna in Palazzo Pepoli.

Assessment methods

Oral examination.

The purpose of the oral exam is to verify the student's degree of learning and ascertain the knowledge and critical skills acquired in the training course.

The candidate will be able to face the final test after sending an "Analysis of an archaeological museum", chosen at will but verified by the teacher so that it can constitute a valid museographic example. The analysis will have to be carried out by following the points of the Critical Sheet drawn up by the teacher and available in the essay "The space of the Muses" indicated in the Bibliography. The final exam will take place through an interview in which the student will have to demonstrate the acquired awareness of the history of archaeological museology and museography and of the issues relating to the conservation and exhibition of archaeological objects. This will take place through the discussion of the "Analysis of an archaeological museum" and of one of the texts discussed during the course and indicated in the bibliography, so as to certify the acquired awareness of the fluidity of the concept of museum and of the conservation practice and of the need a firm critical conscience for each intervention to be prepared.

The mastery of the contents, the adequate expression and the appropriate language for the subject will be evaluated, as well as the ability to synthesize and analyze the concepts discussed in class. A preparation capable of revealing a full understanding of the issues related to the design and management of an archaeological museum, knowledge of the path taken by the institution to reach the definition of the modern concept of an archaeological museum will be assessed with marks of excellence.

Equally, the ability to argue and make autonomous choices of critical analysis and connection in the drafting of the Fact Sheet and in the presentation of the contents, finally the mastery of the language and terminology specific to the discipline on the international scene, will also contribute to the evaluation of excellence, as well as, obviously, in-depth knowledge of the program texts.

The only mnemonic knowledge of the subject, the capacity for synthesis and analysis not correctly developed in an adequate language will lead to discrete evaluations. Training gaps or the lack of the appropriate vocabulary, poor knowledge of the analysis tools and of the problems connected with the restoration interventions will only lead to sufficiency. Poor knowledge of the texts in the program, inadequate vocabulary, lack of understanding of the criticality of the topic and of the conservation problem will be evaluated negatively.

Teaching tools

Videopresentations in PowerPoint format.

Office hours

See the website of Paolo Bolzani