The Ferragamo family founded the museum in May 1995 to acquaint an international audience with the artistic qualities of Salvatore Ferragamo and the role he played in the history of not only shoes but international fashion as well.
Like most corporate museums, Museo Salvatore Ferragamo and its archives stem from the vision of an entrepreneur, in this case Salvatore Ferragamo’s widow, Wanda, who has headed the company since the founder’s death in 1960, and her six children. In particular, the eldest of their children, Fiamma, who managed the company’s core footwear and leather goods business after her father’s death, stood at this project’s helm on behalf of her family and brought it to life, shaping its strategy with the assistance of historians and archivists.
The idea for the museum initially came about when an exhibition was organised at Palazzo Strozzi on the history of Salvatore Ferragamo. The exhibition went on tour and was hosted by some of the world’s most prestigious museums, such as the Victoria and Albert in London, the County Museum of Los Angeles, the New York Guggenheim, the Sogetsu Kai Foundation in Tokyo, and the Museo de Bellas Artes in Mexico. The temporary exhibition gradually became permanent.
In recognition of the museum’s cultural importance and that of its many initiatives over the years, in 1999, Salvatore Ferragamo received the Guggenheim Impresa e Cultura Award, given annually to companies that best invest in culture to constructive ends. The museum is located in the historical centre of Florence, in Palazzo Spini Ferroni, which has also been the company’s headquarters since 1938.