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Italian Historical Society CO.AS.IT. Collection
Image: Mandolin and Case
Source: Museum Victoria
This is a collection developed in partnership by the Italian Historical Society CO.AS.IT. and Museum Victoria. Held by the museum, it 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. Some of these are the stories of well known people, places and manufacturers including musician Giovanni Cera, Florentino's Restaurant and Mocopan Coffee. Others are stories of people facing the challenges of building a life in a new country, finding work and establishing businesses, retaining traditions, such as making food products by hand, 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. These organisations have significant knowledge, expertise and networks to offer and share. The relationship between Museum Victoria and the Italian Historical Society began after a collaborative exhibition developed in 1993 by Museum Victoria, the Jewish Museum of Australia and the Italian Historical Society 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 in the Cultural Agreement between Museum Victoria and the Italian Historical Society CO.AS.IT has been 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.