Rediscovering the past to build the future: the value of the corporate museum and Heritage Marketing

In Italy, the concept of “corporate museum” came to life in the 1960s, when companies such as Pirelli, Martini, Richard Ginori and Alfa Romeo began to create corporate collections and archives, which were later transformed into corporate museums. Since then, other important museums have emerged such as the Barilla historical archive, the Eni archive, the Alessi museum, the Salvatore Ferragamo museum, the Milan water plant, the corporate museums of Kartell, Piaggio, Ferrari and Campari.

But what is a company museum and what is its purpose? Read the article to find out more!

What is a corporate museum?

A company museum is a cultural institution that focuses on the history and development of a specific company or industrial sector. Through exhibits, displays and permanent collections, a company museum tells the story and evolution of an entrepreneurial organization.

This type of museum offers a unique perspective on businesses and industries, allowing visitors to explore the changes, the evolution of technologies and the social and economic transformations associated with business activity. Often, a corporate museum is affiliated with a specific company or group of businesses that share a common history or business sector.

The exhibits inside can include historical objects, documents, photographs, machinery, prototypes, products and promotional materials. Through the use of multimedia, videos, testimonials and interactive narratives, the company museum makes corporate history accessible and engaging for the public.

Museimpresa, the Italian Association of Corporate Archives and Museums, has been bringing together archives and museums of Italian companies, some still in business, others not, for over twenty years, creating a circuit of visits, events and meetings that makes them lively places. Currently, the association has over 100 museums and archives of large, medium and small Italian companies… an authentic story of Made in Italy to be proud of!

What benefits does a corporate museum bring to the company?

A company museum has multiple purposes. Let’s see them together!

  • It preserves and promotes industrial and corporate heritage, enabling people to explore the history and evolution of businesses and industries.
  • It plays an educational role, providing learning opportunities and stimulating curiosity about the entrepreneurial world.
  • It is a Heritage Marketing tool, a marketing strategy that uses a company’s history and heritage to create an emotional connection with consumers. The company museum can be seen as a key component of this strategy, as it showcases the authenticity and legacy of the company, creating a connection between the past, the present and the future. Through Heritage Marketing, businesses can leverage their history and heritage to build a positive reputation, build consumer confidence and differentiate themselves from the competition.

The top 5 of Italian business museums

Museo Branca: this museum tells the recipe of the famous herbal liqueur from four continents. It is housed in the historic factory still in operation, representing a unique example of a company operating in the heart of Milan.

Museo Ducati: this museum combines the history of motorcycling with that of the town in an enthralling journey. The seven media rooms feature a red helmet, a symbol of the space, which also hosts conferences. The museum itineraries include the history of production Ducati motorcycles and their socio-cultural context, racing motorcycles with their relative trophies and a path dedicated to the company’s significant moments. Upon booking, it is possible to visit the Borgo Panigale factory, where visitors can observe the assemblies, tests and the famous racing department.

Galleria Campari: it is an interactive and multimedia museum, located inside the Liberty building of Sesto San Giovanni, which is the first authentic Campari factory, built in 1904 by Davide Campari. A digitized corporate heritage and in a multifaceted cultural deposit that exceeds 3,500 works among those on paper.

Museo Lavazza: in Turin, the Lavazza space allows you to embark on a sensory-emotional journey into the global culture of coffee, also with the support of the first intelligent coffee cup that allows you to activate installations and multimedia content and memorize the visitor’s interactive journey. In the museum, intimate and evocative, the main stages that have marked over 120 years of the company’s history are retraced.

Museo della Liquirizia: in Rossano, in the province of Cosenza, is Amarelli, an Italian company with a history that extends over several centuries. This museum chronicles the four hundred years of liquorice production and the eleven generations that have contributed to its tradition. In the 19th century, Calabria boasted an industrial district with over 80 companies linked to this plant.

Photos taken by Museimpresa.