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Italian Historical Society CO.AS.IT. Collection




The Italian Historical Society CO.AS.IT. Collection contains over 400 objects, representing the stories of thirty Italian migrants and their families and five businesses. It includes clothing, domestic items, travel souvenirs, photographs, commercial products and handcrafts, and has been developed as the result of a cultural agreement between Museum Victoria and the Italian Historical Society CO.AS.IT.

In 1993 Museum Victoria, the Jewish Museum of Australia and the Italian Historical Society developed a collaborative exhibition 'Bridging Two Worlds: Jews, Italians and Carlton'. This project uncovered the need for formal agreements which would set up opportunities for collaborative ventures in the future but also articulate collecting and programming responsibilities. The key component of the Cultural Agreement between Museum Victoria and the Italian Historical Society CO.AS.IT is the establishment and continued development of a joint collection to represent the experiences of one of Victoria's largest cultural communities. The Italian Historical Society has provided community networks, specialist knowledge and recommendations for items for acquisition by the Museum. The Museum owns and manages the collection, and the Italian Historical Society contributes to its development. As part of this agreement the Italian Historical Society has traditionally collected archival material and photographs, while Museum Victoria has collected three-dimensional objects. CO.AS.IT now has a selection of objects from the collection on display in the new Museo Italiano in Carlton.Through brought and homemade objects, the collection of over 300 items tells the stories of well known people, places and manufacturers, including musician Giovanni Cera, Florentino's Restaurant and Mocopan Coffee. It also demonstrates the challenges faced by ordinary people building a life in a new country: finding work and establishing businesses; the maintenance of cultural traditions, such as making food products by hand; social ostracisation and wartime internment; and the founding of cultural and sporting organisations such as the Juventus Soccer Club. Partnerships such as this are one of the most effective ways in which Museum Victoria has recognised and collaborated with cultural organisations that represent significant cultural communities. This collection offers an insight into this process, the history of Italian immigration in Victoria and the significance of this experience to both the Italian and the wider Victorian communities.

Please direct access requests via Museum Victoria's Discovery Centre


1900-1990; Arranged Marriages; Artistic Practices; Astronomy; Clothing; Commerce; Community Organisations; Crafts; Cultural Identity; Domestic equipment; Domestic life; Fashion; Fashion design; Fashion Industry; Festivals; Food & Drink Consumption; Food Processing; Food Processing Equipment; Food Storage & Preservation; Hairdressing; Immigration; Internment camps; Italian Communities; Italian Immigration; Making do; Marriage Customs & Rites; Migration & Settlement; Music; Musical instruments; Musicians; Performing arts; Photography; Post War Migration; Prison Camps; Prisoners of War; Proxy Brides; Recreation; Religious Artifacts; Trades; Working life; World War II, 1939-1945

Coverage Spatial

Victoria, Australia; Italy

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