Naturally. when I go abroad I like to visit museums to find out more about the area and it’s heritage and history. When I visited Bologna of this Year I visited the Museum of the History of Bologna situated in Bologna’s city centre. The museum details the story of Bologna from pre-historical times through the Roman and Renaissance up to the Twenty-First Century. With a nominal fee of eight euros and situated over several floors visiting the museum was a great way to find out more about the history of Bologna which I admit I knew very little about!
The museum is laid out in a chronological fashion with the pre-history of Bologna being described with panels and illustrated pictorials alongside the exhibition text. Following from this there was as is usual in Italian history museums a concentration on the history of Bologna as an important trading town for Roman merchants. There were again several exhibition panels alongside Roman artefacts (please see above first picture of some Roman artefacts and pottery). The exhibition panels were backlit so that the reader could read the text in what was a dimly lit room the better to protect the artefacts from direct sunlight.
My only bug bear with this museum is that all the exhibition text was in Italian. My Italian is rudimentary at best (this is improving with Italian lessons!) and I had to rely on the pictures, artefacts, and historical understanding for each themed room (the rooms appeared to be themed as we move through the history of Bologna). Whilst I do not want to appear rude and say that everything should only be in Italian but Bologna is a popular tourist city with a lot of international tourists who may or may not speak or understand any Italian. I have been to many museums across Europe and there is nearly always some form of English translation especially if the museum is the main museum of the history of the city or area where the museum is based.
Despite there being no English exhibition text I was able to follow the exhibition and the flow and visitor route of the exhibition without any difficulty and did enjoy what I could understand. The variety of different types of artefacts on display alongside contextual archival material gave me an idea of the development of Renaissance Bologna to the beautiful, cultural city we find today. I particularly enjoyed an emphasis on the crafts and textile industries situated in and around Bologna; particularly the wool and lace industries which sadly appear to have died out by the twenty-first century.