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A law to promote corporate museums and connect memory with sustainable development

A law to promote corporate museums and historical archives, support their activity and encourage companies to create new ones. This is what the Regional Council of Lombardy is discussing; the Productive Activities Commission has already approved the bill and the Chamber will probably have to debate it by the end of November. Recognition rules and financial resources are envisaged for museums of Historic Brands and businesses in collaboration with foundations, schools, local institutions and associations. “The story of modern and contemporary Lombardy is above all a story of industry and progress, in the transition from a society of farming and craftsmanship to a society based on enterprise. A process that has had profound consequences, with changes to society, economy and landscape that we can now document,” says Silvia Scurati, regional councillor (Lega) and rapporteur for the bill. Museums and historical business archives are essential tools in this. There are 64 in Lombardy, 40% of the national figure, and of the 140 members and institutional supporters of Museimpresa, 48 are from Lombardy.

The Lombardy regional law, if approved, could represent a good reference model for other Regional Councils as well, in areas with a wealth of companies, industrial activities and economically significant services. It could also finally encourage positive national legislation. As Museimpresa has been urging for some time now, insisting, for example, on the extension of the Art Bonus to private investments as well, on tax advantages, that is, for those who open and manage corporate museums and historical archives, safeguarding the memory and values of Italian know-how, which – ironically – deserves to be made better known, the construction of a new narrative of entrepreneurship capable of building economic value by leveraging social, cultural and environmental values.

It represents an important boost for the competitiveness of our companies, for their international success, without falling into the traps of sovereignism and protectionism, in times when the strength of a brand is also rooted in what’s known as the ‘stakeholder economy’ (attention to the values and interests of employees, suppliers, consumers and local reference communities). It is also supported by ongoing dialogue between Museimpresa and the Italian Historical Brands Association.

Museimpresa, established more than 20 years ago through the initiative of Assolombarda and Confindustria, brings together large companies (Leonardo, Ferrovie dello Stato, Poste, Assicurazioni Generali, Unipol, Banca Intesa, Pirelli, Dalmine, Bracco, Campari, Fiera Milano, etc.) but also successful medium-sized companies (the “pocket multinationals” operating on global markets and the “big names” of design) and small, dynamic businesses all over the country.

Underpinning the Association’s commitment is the now well-established conviction that companies are communities of people, connected by the innovative project of the entrepreneur and shared values: creativity, love of a job well done, a passion for research, commitment to positive change, sincere attention to environmental and social sustainability. The ideal culture of the new “industrial humanism”.

The aim is to protect and above all make good use of the memory of Italians’ ability to “produce beautiful objects that the world appreciates”, to adopt the paradigm of the great European economic historian Carlo Maria Cipolla. Because throughout our history, we have been able to unite beauty, quality, size and efficiency: doing business means being able to hold different cultural dimensions together, with the conviction that there is not a humanistic culture and a scientific one, but there is knowledge per se and transformative knowledge, both representing the knowledge of business.

Indeed, the businesses, factories and financial, commercial and cultural service companies whose museums and archives are part of Museimpresa are both physical and mental locations where past and future meet and where corporate culture is, as we have said, a fundamental asset for competitiveness. In summary, the corporate archive and museum both represent fertile memory and are therefore key to how we act today, tools for the “future of memory”.

The heritage that they contain comprises objects, documents, photographs, films, advertising sketches, technical drawings, but also balance sheets and contracts and work papers that tell the story of both the technical and above all the human dimension of work, with the various records of relationships and conflicts, the very evolution of the ties between entrepreneurs, executives, technicians, managers and workers. It represents genuine social capital that defines the history and identity of every company, the moving portrait of an extraordinary humanity, from a shared perspective of circular and civil economy.

It’s social capital to grow, and to know, including through robust dialogue at the institutional level. The Lombardy regional bill is a good, positive example of this.

Meanwhile, new initiatives mature. One of these is the collaboration between Museimpresa and Google Arts and Culture (announced today in Milan), to include a collection of more than 2,000 images and videos of many members in the Google catalogues. Google is a leader in the most sophisticated digital technologies, and this therefore enhances the quality tools, which can be accessed by all, anywhere, free of charge, available to those who see tourism as a system of cultural and environmental values and appreciate historical knowledge in its broadest sense.

Museimpresa maintains that “the partnership represents a further means of making corporate culture accessible to all, anywhere in the world, at any time and on any device, while simultaneously allowing it to be preserved for future generations.” It’s a helpful contribution to a corporate culture which is also essential to validate sustainable, environmental and social development projects, which Italy needs in order to maintain a leading role.

A law to promote corporate museums and historical archives, support their activity and encourage companies to create new ones. This is what the Regional Council of Lombardy is discussing; the Productive Activities Commission has already approved the bill and the Chamber will probably have to debate it by the end of November. Recognition rules and financial resources are envisaged for museums of Historic Brands and businesses in collaboration with foundations, schools, local institutions and associations. “The story of modern and contemporary Lombardy is above all a story of industry and progress, in the transition from a society of farming and craftsmanship to a society based on enterprise. A process that has had profound consequences, with changes to society, economy and landscape that we can now document,” says Silvia Scurati, regional councillor (Lega) and rapporteur for the bill. Museums and historical business archives are essential tools in this. There are 64 in Lombardy, 40% of the national figure, and of the 140 members and institutional supporters of Museimpresa, 48 are from Lombardy.

The Lombardy regional law, if approved, could represent a good reference model for other Regional Councils as well, in areas with a wealth of companies, industrial activities and economically significant services. It could also finally encourage positive national legislation. As Museimpresa has been urging for some time now, insisting, for example, on the extension of the Art Bonus to private investments as well, on tax advantages, that is, for those who open and manage corporate museums and historical archives, safeguarding the memory and values of Italian know-how, which – ironically – deserves to be made better known, the construction of a new narrative of entrepreneurship capable of building economic value by leveraging social, cultural and environmental values.

It represents an important boost for the competitiveness of our companies, for their international success, without falling into the traps of sovereignism and protectionism, in times when the strength of a brand is also rooted in what’s known as the ‘stakeholder economy’ (attention to the values and interests of employees, suppliers, consumers and local reference communities). It is also supported by ongoing dialogue between Museimpresa and the Italian Historical Brands Association.

Museimpresa, established more than 20 years ago through the initiative of Assolombarda and Confindustria, brings together large companies (Leonardo, Ferrovie dello Stato, Poste, Assicurazioni Generali, Unipol, Banca Intesa, Pirelli, Dalmine, Bracco, Campari, Fiera Milano, etc.) but also successful medium-sized companies (the “pocket multinationals” operating on global markets and the “big names” of design) and small, dynamic businesses all over the country.

Underpinning the Association’s commitment is the now well-established conviction that companies are communities of people, connected by the innovative project of the entrepreneur and shared values: creativity, love of a job well done, a passion for research, commitment to positive change, sincere attention to environmental and social sustainability. The ideal culture of the new “industrial humanism”.

The aim is to protect and above all make good use of the memory of Italians’ ability to “produce beautiful objects that the world appreciates”, to adopt the paradigm of the great European economic historian Carlo Maria Cipolla. Because throughout our history, we have been able to unite beauty, quality, size and efficiency: doing business means being able to hold different cultural dimensions together, with the conviction that there is not a humanistic culture and a scientific one, but there is knowledge per se and transformative knowledge, both representing the knowledge of business.

Indeed, the businesses, factories and financial, commercial and cultural service companies whose museums and archives are part of Museimpresa are both physical and mental locations where past and future meet and where corporate culture is, as we have said, a fundamental asset for competitiveness. In summary, the corporate archive and museum both represent fertile memory and are therefore key to how we act today, tools for the “future of memory”.

The heritage that they contain comprises objects, documents, photographs, films, advertising sketches, technical drawings, but also balance sheets and contracts and work papers that tell the story of both the technical and above all the human dimension of work, with the various records of relationships and conflicts, the very evolution of the ties between entrepreneurs, executives, technicians, managers and workers. It represents genuine social capital that defines the history and identity of every company, the moving portrait of an extraordinary humanity, from a shared perspective of circular and civil economy.

It’s social capital to grow, and to know, including through robust dialogue at the institutional level. The Lombardy regional bill is a good, positive example of this.

Meanwhile, new initiatives mature. One of these is the collaboration between Museimpresa and Google Arts and Culture (announced today in Milan), to include a collection of more than 2,000 images and videos of many members in the Google catalogues. Google is a leader in the most sophisticated digital technologies, and this therefore enhances the quality tools, which can be accessed by all, anywhere, free of charge, available to those who see tourism as a system of cultural and environmental values and appreciate historical knowledge in its broadest sense.

Museimpresa maintains that “the partnership represents a further means of making corporate culture accessible to all, anywhere in the world, at any time and on any device, while simultaneously allowing it to be preserved for future generations.” It’s a helpful contribution to a corporate culture which is also essential to validate sustainable, environmental and social development projects, which Italy needs in order to maintain a leading role.