The Mei exhibition itinerary is divided into 16 areas that address the theme of Italian migrations from both a chronological and thematic point of view.
Each area is characterised by the presence of interactive multimedia stations, archive stations, video screenings with actors or video installations.
At the accreditation stations, visitors can fill in their passport deciding which migrant to interpret on their journey along the MEI exhibition itinerary and activate the bracelet equipped with NFC technology.
Moving to new lands has been part of the experience of mankind since its origin, regardless of the existence of States and borders. In the first area of the Mei exhibition itinerary, five multimedia stations allow visitors to explore examples of human mobility, from prehistoric times to the eve of the Unification of Italy.
Migrants are first and foremost people: Men, women and children. Alone, with family or with friends and fellow countrymen, down through the centuries Italian migrants have moved around with their baggage of stories, emotions and lives. Here five stories of Italian emigration from the mid-19th century to the present day.
This area of the exhibition explores the issues of health and nutrition among the Italian peasant population in the mid-19th century. Visitors can sit down at the table with 19th-century Italian peasants to discover how the quality and quantity of food was insufficient for the energy needs of children and adults.
This area invites reflection on the importance of the land and peasant labour. Many left taking seeds from home with them to plant in the new, promised land. In this ideal “garden”, you will find some varieties of vegetables and aromatic plants whose aromas and flavours accompanied the migrants to make their new land their own.
Myths and propaganda nourished dreams and desires for a better life. This fertile ground was littered with promises from emigration agents. The interactive installation proposes the return home of a “Merican” who goes back home boasting and describing the benefits of emigration.
Two themes are covered in this area, capable of transformation, thanks to lighting effects and the movement of screens: internal emigration within the Bel Paese and migration abroad in the new millennium. The section asks questions and suggests answers through the direct video and audio testimonies of young and not-so-young migrants.
The decision to leave, to migrate, can be taken in an intimate and private moment of reflection, it can also be the result of a choice dictated by collective needs that transcend individual necessities. Through 5 theatrical reconstructions, the audience is offered a selection of possible scenarios that have taken place over time at the moment of the deciding whether or not to migrate.
“Italians have gone everywhere in the world”: the Italian presence is witnessed in over 185 countries. The planisphere contains the stories of the protagonists of Italian migration, collected in collaboration with museums, archives, associations and research bodies.
The motivations that have driven and continue to drive millions of people to migrate are very complex and articulate. This section presents the stories of Italians who decided to leave for foreign countries not to find work but to save their lives or to give their lives a new meaning.
Parliamentary debate reflects the different interpretations of the phenomenon, seen sometimes as a problem and sometimes as a resource. Visitors are invited to walk along a timeline tracing the main steps of the political debate
The history of migration is bitterly studded with accidents and tragedies caused by precarious travelling conditions, the exploitation of migrant workers, the lack of adequate protection and episodes of racist violence. The memorial, an environmental installation accompanied by a constantly updated multimedia station, is intended to recall some of the most significant “emigration tragedies”.
Answering questions at the immigration office, looking for a job, looking for a house to rent are all situations that every migrant faces in their life. They may seem like simple situations, but often this is not the case nor was it the case in the past. The installation invites reflection and suggests empathy for those who are only trying to live with dignity, peace and serenity in a foreign land.
The Italians who left to go and work abroad often exported their skills, their experience and their professionalism, but frequently had to accept those jobs that the countries of arrival offered them. This area presents some moments, episodes and professions that characterised the presence of Italian workers abroad.
The MEI has an area devoted entirely to education and relaxation for younger visitors.
Living abroad means dealing with new customs, traditions and cultures. Area 14, dedicated to the relationship between migration and community, explores the relationships and interactions of the migrant, in continuous balance between the community of arrival and the community of origin, in four sections.