Archival sources and educational objects held at the “Pasquali Agazzi Museum” (Mu.P.A.) in Mompiano (Brescia, Italy)

Renata Giovanna Bressanelli*

*Autore corrispondente per questo lavoro

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in libroContributo a convegno


This paper illustrates the heuristic potential of archival documents and educational objects exhibited at the recently founded “Pasquali Agazzi” museum-archive. From the early 20th century, Italian early childhood education was strongly influenced by the educational approach developed by teachers Rosa and Carolina Agazzi, under the guidance of Pietro Pasquali, then general director of Brescian infant and elementary schools. In a country kindergarten at Mompiano (a district of Brescia), these three figures drew on educational science principles and Frobelian practices to devise a method that viewed the child as an active protagonist in everyday school life. Implementing this approach did not require expensive teaching aids, but rather everyday materials. For example, the children were invited to engage with simple objects found at home or on the street (museo delle cianfrusaglie [“trinkets museum”]) or brought in by the teachers (contrassegni [“symbols”]). This made the approach well suited to the Italian society of the period, which was mainly rural and lacking in resources and funding. The Agazzi method was widely acclaimed and still today continues to be applied and valued in infant schools, although it is not as well-known as the Montessori method. In the early 1960s, Brescia City Council and the Brescia-based publishing house La Scuola founded the “Pasquali-Agazzi Institute” with a view to conserving the memory of the method and keeping it alive. The aims of the institute included offering teacher professional development programmes based on the principles of the Agazzi method, as well as managing a research centre with a permanent educational museum and specialized library. Despite these efforts, the Mompiano Institute became gradually less active and, over time, some of the archival documents and educational materials exhibited in the original permanent museum were lost or put in storage. Recently, Brescia City Council – which took over direct responsibility for the Institute in the early 1990s, with the approval of the Ministry of Education – has begun to invest in the Institute’s future, in collaboration with the Faculty of Education at the Università Cattolica in Milan. In 2020, these two institutions signed a memorandum of understanding, with the aim of fostering a general revival of the Agazzi educational approach. One of the goals of this project, namely that of recovering and enhancing the historical and educational heritage assets held at Mompiano, has already been achieved. Specifically, the “Pasquali Agazzi Museum”, Mu.P.A., was inaugurated in November 2021. It exhibits documentary and photographic materials illustrating the key stages in the history of the Agazzi method, as well as the teaching aids and furnishings required to implement the approach in nursery schools. This archive-museum represents a key chapter in the history of educational technologies at the turn of the twentieth century. Investigation of the instruments held there can inform our understanding of the material culture of schools, and of infant schools specifically. This collection of archival sources and educational/teaching materials offers the national and international academic community valuable and novel research leads concerning everyday educational experience in kindergartens in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
Lingua originaleEnglish
Titolo della pubblicazione ospiteHistories of Educational Technologies. Cultural and Social Dimensions of Pedagogical Objects, Book of abstract, Ische 43, Milan 31/08-06/09 2022
Numero di pagine2
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2022
Evento43rd Conference Ische, Histories of Educational Technologies. Cultural and Social Dimensions of Pedagogical Objects - Milano, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore
Durata: 31 ago 20226 set 2022


Convegno43rd Conference Ische, Histories of Educational Technologies. Cultural and Social Dimensions of Pedagogical Objects
CittàMilano, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore


  • Childhood education
  • Educational museum
  • Educazione infantile
  • Italia
  • Italy
  • Metodo "Pasquali-Agazzi"
  • Museo dell’educazione
  • Nineteenth-twentieth century
  • XIX-XX secolo
  • “Pasquali-Agazzi” method


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