New museum for Milan opens Thursday

Museo delle Culture.

After a 15-year wait, with repeated delays and postponements, Milan’s Museum of Cultures – MUDEC – is finally scheduled to be inaugurated on Thursday 26 March.

In the former Ansaldo steel works in Via Tortona 56, a City of Cultures was planned in 1999. The three-storey building of some 8,000 sqm is to contain collections from America, Asia and Africa, as well as a cafeteria, a bookshop, a restaurant and a library.

MUDEC logo The new museum's logo

Since the competition for the construction was awarded to the David Chipperfield studio of architects in 2001, the concept has been slightly modified. It now will be “a place dedicated to interculturality, where planetary and local cultures can compare their differences and similarities” in the words of Stefano Boeri, former culture councillor who oversaw the project.

The exterior of MUDEC The exterior of MUDEC

The first exhibit hosted by this new museum is “Worlds in Milan”, dedicated to the dialogue between the city and the many distant worlds which have stepped onto the stage in Milan. Open until 19 June, the show will offer artwork, design objects, architecture, documentation and furnishing “to testify to the fascination of the exotic and the Angst of modernity.”

At the same time, and until the end of August, MUDEC will also host an exhibition on Africa, with over 200 items documenting African art from the Middle Ages until the present. This show will contrast famed and monumental masterpieces, selected with an eye to western tastes, with works closer to African tradition and sensibilities.

Although the final details of the permanent collection have yet to be decided, it will include the ethnographic collection of the city hall, which has until now been housed in the storage spaces of the Sforza castle.