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The Historical Figurine Museum

Military miniatures, Modelling, Scale Reconstructive Archaeology, Center for Documentation and Historical Culture.

The Historical Figurine Museum of Calenzano was founded in 1981 following the success of an exhibition organized by the City Council and the Military Miniature and Historical Figurine Club of Calenzano. In the mid-'90s the museum assumed purely educational characteristics. The contacts established with the  Stibbert Foundation Museum of Florence led it to place in the Museum the exhibit "War and Mercenaries in Tuscany 1260-1364" in the early 80s. The exhibit was designed by leading experts of Italian and European diorama modelling (in collaboration with the Florence Institute of Art), the first example of a diorama intended as an invitation to the study of history. The designation of the museum itself as the Historical Figurine Museum was in fact chosen to emphasize the use of military miniatures as a teaching tool, based upon the interaction between a meticulous survey of iconographic, documentary and narrative sources and the experience of artisans and craftsmen who are well versed in the field.
In summer 2004, the museum moved to the Castle of Calenzano. It has been the perfect culmination of this process in which the museum is linked with the castle in order to enrich its purpose through the establishment of a teaching unit, the creation of a documentation centre and the training of a group dedicated to historical animation. The Historical Figurine Museum of Calenzano offers activities and initiatives aimed at enhancing the area's history by combining leisure time activities with a scientific learning process. A modelling and archaeological exhibit takes visitors on a journey to the rediscovery of the historical roots of our territory in which, in addition to the traditional components of study, are coupled new elements: the teaching of history such as modelling, computers, audio-visual aids, and experimental and reconstructive archaeology modelled in scale. The end product is a result of the work of modelling associations from Florence and other places, of operators and entrepreneurs of the sector, and of private collectors collaborating with institutions responsible for research such as the Stibbert Museum Foundation of Florence, the Superintendence of Archaeology of Tuscany, and the Universities of Florence and Siena. Entering the museum, visitors are introduced to the world of modelling along a path that traces the history of military miniatures, illustrating their different types, presents the different stages of production of a miniature piece or diorama, and shows the potential of the world of modelling.
The exhibition also offers an extensive educational section where historical and archaeological research supports the ability of modellers in order to create educational tools (these are precisely the models on display), organized and presented according to an imaginary time line: the visitor meets the Etruscan and Roman civilizations, then moves from antiquity to the Middle Ages of the castles and towns, until the fall of the Florentine Republic. After a quick look at the relationship between war and society in Europe between the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the route continues through the Napoleonic Age (examined with particular reference to Tuscans recruited in the Arno Department for the service of the Emperor) and the Risorgimento (three Italian wars of Independence) to the Great War. This large section ends with a room dedicated to people, resources and events of the Second World War, with particular reference to the Gothic Line and the Resistance.

Sections of the Museum

1. History of military miniatures: modelling and  types
2. The ancient world: Italics, Etruscans and Romans
3. The Middle Ages: merchants, pilgrims and warriors
4. The Age of Napoleon: rise and decline of an empire
5. Risorgimento: the dawn of a nation
6. The twentieth century: from colonialism to the Great War
7. The Second World War: the war fronts, Italy, Tuscany

Torneo Medievale, soldatini in piombo piatti (particolare) Guardie Scozzesi, soldatini in piombo e stagno

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