Italy Our Caltanissetta: “Let’s save, let’s improve the San Giusto School’s Educational Museum”

Editorial Board
July 10, 2022, at 07.45

“San Giusto” is the name of one of the school complexes that make up the “Vittorio Veneto” State Comprehensive Institute in Caltanissetta, located in a historic building in Viale Regina Margherita. The neoclassical, austere school building was built between 1915 and 1919. It is actually the oldest primary school in Nissen. The first school year activated in the new building was probably 1922/1923. In 1925, its director Monsignor Angelo Gennuso, a man from the church and school, was a priest and teacher of considerable cultural depth, an essayist and educator. A life spent for his students to the point where they deserved the gold medal of public education and the designation “Champion of Santa Claus”.

“San Giusto” has witnessed the many transformations that the Italian school has experienced over the course of a century, but above all it preserves, in old school registers, the historical memory of the many students who have participated in it (including the author over the years 1966-1971). These extraordinary handwritten records report personal information about individual students and their parents with extraordinary calligraphic expertise, the legal-administrative status of teachers and teachers, and the schedules for the various subjects. At the bottom of the registers, together with the grades, the absence, any assignments and even the postponements imposed on the students are noted. Strongly desired by the former headmaster, Prof. Mario Cassetti, the “Pedagogical Museum of San Giusto”, a true didactic laboratory for historical research, enriches the educational path of students and teachers, as well as constituting a valuable heritage, an element of identity and memory of the city.

For us at Italia Nostra, it also represents a peculiar part of it “Museum of the History of the City of Caltanissetta” that for some time we have hoped that it will take place on the most significant and close memories. In short, the Pedagogical Museum is an extraordinary cross-section of anthropology and sociology. And documents, objects, fixtures, books, registers, magazines, teaching aids, pictures and photographs have re-emerged from the school’s warehouses. Precious, significant testimonies of school life.

In recent years, these basic documents have been placed in period cabinets of the recreated “Bureau”. Office that, in addition to period furniture, also houses two exceptional harmonies from the beginning of the twentieth century (M. Hòrùgel – Hof Harmonium Fabrik) and a colossal projector in an iron box from the 1930s (Tery model) by the Boaro brothers in Rome . The museum also houses a typical classroom from the last century. For years, pupils and students from various schools here have carried out historical-documentary studies concerning the fascist period in Caltanissetta, but not only. As part of the “Le Vie dei Tesori” event, the visit to the educational museum at the “San Giusto” school was especially appreciated. The school’s management has – together with some associations – taken steps towards a conservative restoration of the numerous exhibitions in the Museum.

But now, unbelievably, this precious cultural heritage in the city risks being thrown out, scattered to make room for other functions, other activities. The lack of respect for the identity values ​​of this our city, along with the inability to plan and design, seems to have no boundaries. But we will continue to defend, to protect these values.
Prof. Leandro Janni – Regional President of Italia Nostra Sicilia

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