Controversy in Sora: City seeks retired museum director to work for free

There is controversy in Sora: the City Council is in fact looking for a retired director for the Civic Museum who will work for free. For the former director, the notice is "unethical." The deputy mayor justifies the decision: it is to reopen the museum and not leave it "closed to rot."

Thenotice published by the Municipality of Sora (Frosinone), which is looking for the new scientific director of the Civic Museum of the Media Valle del Liri, an institute founded in 1979, based in the 14th-century former convent of the Friars Minor Conventual, and which contains within it various testimonies that tell the history of the territory, from prehistory to the contemporary age (of notable importance are the Roman statues that the museum preserves, coming from the Roman temple incorporated in the cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta). The point is that the position, the notice says, is “reserved for retired individuals.” That is, to retirees. And since a retiree cannot be asked to work too long, the contract will be for one year.

Not only that, the director, in addition to being a retiree, will also have to work for free, without even expense reimbursement. In fact, the announcement reads, “The position, being reserved for retired individuals, will not provide for any professional and salary compensation for the work performed. There will be no payment of any kind of expense reimbursement for the performance of the assignment.” Yet the profile required is high: requirements include proven experience in archaeological research, documented knowledge of artifact preservation systems, assignments and certifications (e.g., collaborations with superintendencies, universities, museums), scientific publications, and a bachelor’s degree. And then, only a few days to apply: the window is open from January 13 to 24.

Thus, a lively controversy immediately arose on social media, with the association Mi Riconosci, which has always been active in defense of the rights of cultural heritage workers, speaking of a “puzzling announcement” and with users who, at best, call the notice published by the City of Sora “grotesque.”

On social media, former museum director Manuela Cerqua also wrote in an articulate post. “Offering intellectual work for zero compensation is a story that repeats itself periodically,” she writes on her Facebook profile. “This time it is not about the types of professions in the spotlight, but about a prominent and high-profile role such as the scientific director of a museum. That museum that until 2016 was one of the flagships of the Regional Museum Organization and the Proust Archaeological Museum System. An unusual request that has already alarmed the world of archaeologists, enhancement experts, museum directors, museum operators and curators, who consider unconscionable the dissemination of such notices that, by offering free work, debase and harm the dignity of cultural heritage professionals. It is profoundly immoral that such a request should come from a public administration of all places. To gratuitousness is added dormancy. Whoever the aspiring director is, even if he or she is a luminary, it is completely anomalous that a public notice excludes qualified young people who are not already retired. Moreover, the fact that the Notice does not specify the composition of the Evaluation Committee, as it is supposed to, and the limit of publication of the act of only 8 days, leave doubts about the lack of transparency of the procedure.”

The only comment from the City of Sora that has arrived at the moment bears the signature of Maria Paola Gemmiti, deputy mayor and councillor for culture and equal opportunities. “We made a public call (very regular) because we felt it was fair to be fair! We don’t have time, we don’t have money and we found a debacle,” she wrote on her Facebook profile. “As we have done so far in a winning way, we appealed to the good will of people even with a public notice to first of all reopen, respond to the near deadline of the call to re-enter the circuit of museums of the Lazio Region expiring on January 31 (and seek funding in the midst of the PNRR era) and have in a year the time and economic coverage to make a call for a paid Scientific Director. The choice is to open, revive, grow or not open and leave the Museum closed to rot.”

In the photo: a room of the Museum of the Media Valle del Liri in Sora

Controversy in Sora: City seeks retired museum director to work for free
Controversy in Sora: City seeks retired museum director to work for free

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