Caterina Pisu, an archaeologist and museum educator, was born in the Isle of Ischia (the ancient Pithecusa, the first Greek colony in the West), in the bay of Naples; moved with her family to Rome, when she grew up, and now she lives in the medieval town of Viterbo, ancient seat of the Papacy, “the city of beautiful women and fountains”.
For some years she edited the column dedicated to the museums, in the magazine for the economy of cultural heritage, “ArcheoNews” and is the author of scientific publications about Archaeology and Museology. Caterina has also organized and directed post-graduate courses in Museology and in Archaeological Journalism and Communication, and created the National Conferences “Federico Halbherr” for young archaeologists.
Caterina currently coordinates research activities of the Associazione Nazionale Piccoli Musei (APM), and plays the role of Community Manager on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, You Tube, Linkedin and Pinterest. Her favorite museum professionals, people who inspire her professional life, are: Giovanni Pinna, Kenneth Hudson, Stephen Weil, and David Fleming. Her motto is: “Be curious, look around. Your PC is a window on the world”.
Do you work in a museum? If not, where do you work? Tell us about your job.
No, I don’t work in a museum. I am currently the Research and Communications Coordinator of the Associazione Nazionale Piccoli Musei (APM), a non-profit organization that values the Italian small museums, organizes meetings, conventions and initiatives in order to highlight to visitors and institutions the reality facing small museums and to stimulate adequate knowledge of their situation. We think that small museums are different from big museums. It is not only a question of size, space and economic resources. The problem is much bigger and relates to the relationship with the local community, location, management, services offered to the visitors, and the role of the museum.
As APM Research Coordinator, my current research lines are: first, the presence of Italian museums in social networks. I am conducting a survey through questionnaires; the preliminary report is published on the homepage of the APM official website. The second research line concerns the Italian neighborhood museums and the social function of museums, in general. I am preparing a paper for the next national APM Symposium (Assisi, November 11th-12th 2013).
What’s your educational background?
I graduated at the University of Rome “La Sapienza” in Classical Studies in 1998, with a thesis about the Etruscan necropolis of Olivetello, at Trevignano Romano, a nice town in the north-eastern sector of Lake Bracciano, about 43 km from Rome. The necropolis provided findings of exceptional interest: bucchero, Sub-geometrical, Etrusco-Corinthian and Attic vases, many bronzes, two pairs of sandals, two chariots (a gig and a currus) and the famous fan, embossed with geometric design. For my thesis I received an encomium from the town municipality.
I studied at School of Etruscology (“Claudio Faina” Museum Foudation, Orvieto), in which I carried out research focused on the possible identification of the Etruscan city to which belonged the necropolis of Trevignano Romano.
I also have a Master’s degree in Museum Education from Roma Tre University.
What was your ‘sticky’ moment?
It’s a difficult question to answer! Perhaps, when I had a bad professional experience, an injustice due to a blatant favoritism, depriving me of an important opportunity, but I didn’t stop working and I tried a new way to express my qualities. It’s my personal victory inside.
What is the name of your blog? How long have you been blogging?
Museums Newspaper. It started in 2011.
What do you blog about? Why?
I write topics relating to Museum Studies, translate articles from foreign newspapers and blogs, post my articles that I have written for ArcheoNews and some interviews with several eminent museum professional, such as John Haworth and Anne W. Ackerson, President and Director of New York Museum Association; David Lordkipanidze, The Director of the Georgian National Museum and the discoverer of Homo georgicus; the Icom Russia President, Vladimir Ilytch Tolstoj, descendant of the Russian writer.
Over the past two years I have supported the cause against the demolition of the National Museum of Uganda. The largest and oldest museum in the country could be demolished to give way for the construction of a 60-story trade center! The battle is not yet over.
I decided to be a blogger for manifesting my thoughts in a totally independent way, without being subject to a newspaper or an institution’s directives. I love to be free.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I never thought about my future career. I hope to continue my currently profession and to have the opportunity to work in a museum.
Where do you see museums in 10 years?
In 10 years I can see a more welcoming museum. I think that the museum of the future will be closer to its community and especially to the people who are outside of the museum, to those who don’t go into it normally: the disadvantaged young people, the elderly, people with disabilities, marginalized, etc. A primary role of a museum is to engage and educate the community. Stephen Weil said that “without social value, the museum is nothing”.
If you were forced to spend the rest of your life in a library, a museum or a zoo, which would you choose and why?
Of course I want to live in a museum! Professional bias… I would choose to live in the Museum of Trevignano Romano because I took in my hands every archaeological artifacts of that museum.
Those materials are like a second family to me!
What do you see as the biggest challenge (or opportunity) facing museums today?
Engaging people. This is the most difficult challenge for every museum.
Share one piece of advice for those interested in working in the museum field:
You have to be passionate and curious. In my opinion, this is the recipe to succeed in your career.
Thanks for participating in Meet a Museum Blogger, Caterina!
In case you missed it, Caterina blogs at Museums Newspaper.
Do you have additional questions for Caterina regarding her profile above? Feel free to start a conversation in the comments below or reach out to her directly on Twitter at @PiccoliMusei. Please use the #MuseumBlogger hashtag. TY!
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