Tridentine Diocesan Museum's exhibition on Simonino da Trento wins European Heritage Award

Important recognition for the Tridentine Diocesan Museum's valuable exhibition on Simonino da Trento (2019-2020): it is one of only two Italian projects to win the 2021 edition of the European Heritage Award.

Important recognition for the exhibition The Invention of the Guilty. The Case of Simonino da Trento, from Propaganda to History, held at the Museo Diocesano Tridentino in Trento between 2019 and 2020(our review at this link): the exhibition won the European Heritage Award 2021 in the Education, Training and Awareness-raising category. The Trent exhibition won the award given each year by Europa Nostra along with the projects Following in the Footsteps of Bulgarian Folklore (Bulgaria), Heritage Hubs (Finland/Italy/Serbia/Spain), Feasts! In East and West. The School Church, Groningen (Netherlands), European Solidarity Centerść - Permanent Exhibition (Poland), Craft Lime of Morón (Spain), Archaeology at Home (UK) and Morus Londinium. London’s heritage through trees (United Kingdom).

Italy also won another award, with Rita Bargna in the category “Exemplary Commitment to Heritage by Organizations and Individuals,” along with Gjirokastra Foundation (Albania), Technical Committee of Cultural Heritage (Cyprus) and GEFAC - Group of Ethnography and Folklore of the Academy of Coimbra (Portugal). No awards for Italy in the Conservation and Research categories. For Conservation, awards go to the restoration and preservation projects of Gare Maritime in Brussels (Belgium), Fredensborg Palace Gardens (Denmark), Vardzia Rock City (Georgia), Haus am Horn in Weimar (Germany), Plaka Bridge (Greece), 18 Ormond Quay Upper (Ireland), Wooden Church of the Village of Ursi (Romania), Les Aigües del Besòs Tower in Barcelona (Spain), Mas de Burot (Spain). For the Research category, awarded FIBRANET - FIBRes in ANcient European Textiles (Denmark/Greece), Control Shift - European Industrial Heritage Reuse in Review (Greece/Netherlands), ART-RISK - Artificial Intelligence Applied to Preventive Conservation (Spain).

The winners of the 2021 edition of the Prize were announced during a live online event co-presented by Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, and Hermann Parzinger, executive president of Europa Nostra. European Commissioner Mariya Gabriel emphasized, “The winners of the European Cultural Heritage Awards/ Europa Nostra Awards 2021 are ambassadors of the beauty of heritage in Europe, whether it is traditions and know-how, breathtaking architecture, or the way heritage can unite communities and generations. I truly believe that the success of preserving our tangible and intangible heritage depends on the commitment of the people coninvolved. With these awards, we therefore honor all those outstanding men and women, heritage professionals, architects, scientists and volunteers who bring our common heritage closer to our hearts. Their vision deserves to be applauded.” Hermann Parzinger, executive chairman of Europa Nostra, said, “Each year, the winners of the European Cultural Heritage Awards/ Europa Nostra Awards exemplify the incomparable creativity and commitment of those working to protect, enhance and transmit Europe’s precious heritage to future generations. This year’s winners powerfully demonstrate how heritage offers solutions and pathways to recovery in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges as we take climate action, mobilize for sustainable urban and rural development, and address the many threats to our core European values. We congratulate them on their outstanding achievements: may they serve as inspiration and encouragement for future action for so many heritage professionals and enthusiasts throughout Europe and beyond.” The award winners were selected by independent juries composed of European experts who evaluated nominations submitted by organizations and individuals from 30 European countries. The European Cultural Heritage Awards/ Europa Nostra Awards, which have the support of the European Union’s Creative Europe program, were established by the European Commission in 2002 and have been managed by Europa Nostra ever since. The awards highlight and disseminate excellence and best practices related to heritage, encourage cross-border exchange of knowledge, and link heritage actors in broader networks. The awards bring great benefits to the winners, such as increased (inter)national exposure, additional funding, and increased visitors. In addition, the awards program promotes greater attention to our common heritage among European citizens. The awards are therefore a key tool to promote the multiple values of cultural and natural heritage for society, the economy and the environment in Europe.

The exhibition at the Diocesan Museum of Trent, which told the story of the case of Simonino da Trento, was awarded for its ability to stimulate critical reflection on the construction of hostile otherness, which led to the spread of hatred, intolerance, and discrimination, all based on prejudice and stereotypes. It also well highlighted the role of propaganda and fake news in fueling hatred, all according to high criteria of scientificity in an exhibition that told a story that from the 15th century dragged on according to various aspects until the late 20th century. As part of the exhibition, various educational materials were also prepared for secondary and high school students, including a walk through the city in search of evidence of Trent’s Ashkenazi Jewish community alongside places that can evoke the “Simonino case.” Because of its regional, national and international importance, the “Simonino case” will be included in the permanent itinerary of the Tridentine Diocesan Museum.

The jury praised the significance of the exhibition and awarded it with this motivation: “It is a project of great relevance to the contemporary world in that it employs a method to create critical thinking related to historical processes and deconstructs a historical example of fake news. The project, a strong collaboration with many researchers, is not just an exhibition but a process that is ongoing and will continue.”

Pictured: Daniel Mauch’s workshop, Martyrdom of Simonino da Trento (first-second decade of the 16th century; carved and painted wood 81 x 110 x 24 cm; Trento, Museo Diocesano Tridentino, inv. 3016)

Tridentine Diocesan Museum's exhibition on Simonino da Trento wins European Heritage Award
Tridentine Diocesan Museum's exhibition on Simonino da Trento wins European Heritage Award