Who we are

The Italian War History Museum is a non-profit organisation – following the Third Sector Reform it will become known as an ETS – registered in the appropriate registry.

From a legal standpoint, it is a private law association with legal personality governed by about 300 members. Registration is open to museums, associations, companies, institutions and private organisations. Members pay an annual fee. The institution is managed by a Council, elected through democratic principles. The management of the company and the approval of its financial statements take place with the utmost transparency.

The Museum is part of the Museum Network of the Provincia autonoma di Trento. It is hosted in the Castle of Rovereto, owned by the Comune di Rovereto.

The network of local relations includes institutional bodies, associations and companies. There are active collaborations and exchanges between dozens of museums in Italy and Europe.

The Museum coordinates the circuit of museums known as the Rete Trentino Grande Guerra.

The Italian War History Museum collects and exhibits documents, images and testimonies of people who lived through wars between the Modern Era to the present day.

It is a place of preservation, research, communication and education on the theme of war and its impact on people, societies, culture and the landscape.

Since 1921, it has preserved and interpreted the complex heritage of memories of the First World War and conflicts of the contemporary age.

Its mission is twofold: first, to promote the development of a critical awareness of the history of conflicts, through debate and the active participation of different audiences; second, to promote the principles of peace and reconciliation, using the harrowing experience of the Great War as starting point.

The perspective of research and storytelling ranges from the Modern Era to current conflicts, from a transnational perspective.

The museum collaborates with national and international cultural institutions with a similar mission.

On a regional scale, it aims to safeguard the tangible and intangible memories of the First World War and to enhance the historical landscape. To this end, it cooperates with public institutions and voluntary associations and coordinates a provincial museum network.

The museum is committed to guaranteeing ever greater accessibility to information and its collections, in the awareness that the involvement of the population is a determining factor in achieving collective well-being.

Our history

In its early years, the museum proposed an ideological vision of the conflict, interpreting it as the last stage of the Risorgimental campaign. The founders thought of it as “a museum of the memories of our liberated land”, a place to celebrate the annexation of Trentino to Italy.

The original exhibition had a pedagogical objective: the causes of war are not examined, nor the chronological succession of events; the visitors had been direct witnesses and did not need captions or descriptive texts.

From the mid-1980s, the Museum’s activity began to change. Through temporary exhibitions, conferences, research and publications, new themes began to emerge. The museum came into contact with the world of academia, and began to immerse itself in museological reflection and the analytical study of its collections.

The end of the 1990s marked the beginning of a substantial restoration of the Castle that houses the exhibitions. It also paved the way for the overall rethinking of the permanent collection and a new way of interpreting the First World War.

Since then, the museum has increasingly positioned itself as the area’s cultural hub and space for relations and learning. Specific attention is given to the needs of different audiences, through the creation of visitor aids and opportunities for families, foreign visitors and tourists. Particular attention is paid to schools, for which numerous educational initiatives are created. Relations are developed with cultural centres, associations and local organisations, often taking the form of projects to enhance the historical heritage of the Great War. The Museum has also started to offer its archival heritage through websites and multimedia tools.

In the year of its centenary, the Museum published Un secolo di storia, cent’anni di storie. Museo Storico Italiano della Guerra 1921-2021 (A Century of History – a hundred years of stories: the Italian War History Museum 1921-2021). Read about the book.