The National Museum of the Italian ‘Risorgimento’ in Torino was founded in 1878. It is uniquely national due to the importance and richness of its collections. It is located in the heart of Torino, in Palazzo Carignano and has been an official UNESCO site since 1997. The Palace building houses the original seat of the The Chamber of Deputies of the Subalpine Parliament, dated 1848. Today it is a modern, Interactive, Multimedia Museum which offers its visitors a ‘One of a kind’ experience. In a tour involving 30 rooms, visitors are guided through the facts and leading figures of the ‘Risorgimento’, the Unification of Italy and the birth of European nations. From the Grand Revolutions of the 1700s right up to the brink of the First World War side by side with the more traditional political and military aspects, the tour blends in stories about society, culture, art, technique and mentality.
The substantial heritage, partly displayed in the museum tour and partly re-valued in temporary exhibitions, is largely held in the iconographic show case. Among the diverse types of material, the principal nucleus of which spans the 18th and 19th centuries, there are some examples from the 1600s and others which run through to the 20th century. These include, in particular, the collections of iconographic prints, maps and postcards, as well as the collections of historical photographs and posters.
An important Library is annexed to the museum itself, specialized in the history of the ‘Risorgimento’ period. Part of this heritage is “The Encyclopaedia or Reasoned Dictionary of Sciences, Arts and Crafts” compiled under the direction of Denis Diderot and Jean Baptiste le Rond d’Alembert and printed in Livorno (Leghorn) between 1770 and 1778. This library is particularly interesting because it contains some of the most important periodicals published in the 19th century.
The Historical Archives of the Museum represent a documentary complex of extraordinary richness and interest. The main body is dated between the 18th and 19th centuries and includes documents deriving from the 13th to the 15th centuries and running up to the Second World War and the resistance. Flanked by authentic archival collections relating to men and women, politicians, soldiers, patriots, families and institutions, documents are stored which give evidence of the taste for collections from those times.