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23 September 2009 - 21 March 2010, Heleneum - Lugano

Twentieth Anniversary of the Museo delle Culture

The Museo delle Culture (MCL) was founded in 1985 to house the collection of ethnic artworks which was donated to the city of Lugano by the Ticinese artist Serge Brignoni. It was inaugurated on the 23rd of September 1989 and opened its doors to the public on the following day. The museum, which until 2007 was named "Museo delle Culture Extraeuropee", is housed in the beautiful neoclassical Villa “Helenum” and celebrates its twentieth anniversary this year. In order to mark this milestone, the museum is organising diverse events, which will start after the official speeches on Wednesday the 23rd of September 2009. 

Foto gallery

"Endocosmi. Verso il Museo delle Culture 1989-2009"

As of Thursday the 24th of September, the public will be able to visit the temporary exhibition entitled "Endocosmi. Verso il Museo delle Culture 1989-2009" which was inaugurated for this occasion, and access the newly renovated permanent exhibition for free. "Endocosmi. Verso il Museo delle Culture 1989-2009" is housed in three rooms on the ground floor of the Helenum and presents the history of the museum and of the Villa itself. It focuses on three emblematic figures who have each shaped the very soul of the museum in their own way. The leitmotif of this exhibition is therefore formed by the worldviews of Hélène Margarethe Bieber ("Ricerca del genius loci") who built the Helenum in the 1930s , of the great scholar Elémire Zolla ("Rifugio dello spirito"), who directed the Istituto Ticinese di Alti Studi in the 1970s, as well as of Serge Brignoni ("Affinità segrete"), whose collection of ethnic art is at the core of today’s museum. These worldviews are suggestively compared with some of the museum’s important works of art.


“Ten artists for the Museo delle Culture”.

Each of the ten new rooms is represented by an engraving specifically designed and donated by contemporary artists, who were inspired by the works of art exhibited in the museum. The ten engravings, which gave rise to the creation of respective posters intended to act as a seal above the entrance to each room, are mounted in a room on the first floor. 33 numbered and signed copies of each engraving are available for sale, in order to help contribute to the museum’s internal funding. 

New guides

The twentieth anniversary of the Museo delle Culture is also celebrated with the publication of three new books, consisting first and foremost of the new Museum Guide, edited by Marta Cometti to facilitate the exploration of the new exhibition space. A second guide, entitled "In viaggio per i Mari del sud. Guida per ragazzi al Museo della Culture" and edited by Valeria Vago, is dedicated to children and will accompany them on an exciting, pedagogical and educational “treasure hunt” through the rooms of the museum. The third publication is the new museum brochure. The celebrations and events marking the museum’s twentieth anniversary will take place until the closing date of the temporary exhibition on the 21st of March 2010.

Guida. Il Museo delle Culture di Lugano.

A cura di Marta Cometti
Edizioni MCL / Città di Lugano, Lugano 2009
Antropunti 3, sezione Guide
Chf 42.-
ISBN 88-7777-043-1