In 2009, I curated the exhibition design of a new museum near Caltanissetta, Sicily, the Museum of Sulfur Mines of Trabia Tallarita. The industrial buildings of the mines, since long unused, had been restored and were waiting for a concept to be turned into public spaces. A first requisite from the local board was to create Science and Technology exhibits, but while inspecting the site, stories from the past emerged still alive and poignant, mostly about the incredible hard-working conditions. I proposed to merge a playful “exploratorium-like” approach with a more thoughtful, anthropological attitude, telling how the commercial needs of sulfur production intertwined with the life of the people and the technical development of those times.
To learn how a mine was like, visitors have to use a virtual elevator, that takes them thorough various levels of the dig. Mining stories and facts are told in a dark, cave-like room, with a 360° videoprojection installation. After this descent, the technical side of the mine was presented, how it worked and what scientific development was behind this. Three of the original diesel engine, the first electricity generators in the region, become didactic exhibits animated by sounds and projections that show their inner workings.
The work that I carried out at Trabia-Tallarita has been subject of a presentation that I held at the EASST (European Association for the Study of Science and Technology) 2010 Conference.
Museum delle Miniere di Trabia-Tallarita
Production: Asteria Multimedia
Architect: Massimo Venegoni
Content curation, exhibition design and programming: Michele Pedrazzi