Driiiiiiiiiiiin the bell’s ringing! Tutti in classe! Time to get to class!
If you can’t remember when you last heard the school bell, you should definitely experience this magical time in The School Museum in Macerata.
Luckily enough, I am quite young and the materials that are exposed in this museum match only with far memories of my grandparents and parents’ stories. It was indeed a different society who truly believed in education, since the children who attended schools were the help taken from the everyday work in the fields. I remember my grandparents telling how respectful to teachers they wanted my father to be, and clever, of course, to let him avoid the same (difficult) life they had had. Therefore, you shouldn’t be surprised to see several “corporal punishment” tools in this special museum: such as the wooden sticks to slap pupils’ hands, or the jars with chickpeas and maize grains. Bad children had to sit on bare knees on them for hours, and my grandparents’ stories harped on the discomfort of this punishment!
The collection of this museum was gathered by Paolo and Ornella Ricca, who eventually donated it to the University of Macerata, which became the proud owner. The tools date back to 800s and 900s and represent a perfect (visual!) description of those school times.
Starting from the authentic classroom, with wooden school desks from the 30s and everything that was on them. It is even arranged with a terracotta stove or coal pot for harsh winters, to heat pupils’ feet. Schoolbooks and notebooks obviously refer to the Italian education, but it is interesting to see the differences in the school system with your country of origin! Do you also have one character for each alphabet letter? Moreover, children can compare with their actual life, is it so different? I bet it is.
But how could pupils write? Well, that has changed a lot during times. The evolution of pens is well displayed: from goose feather to a modern ballpoint pen. You can also sit in front of one of these school desks and experience yourself your writing skills. Will you be still to do it? We’re so addicted to touch screens that it may be more challenging than expected. Writing with an ink pen is nothing but easy: you have to deal with the hassle of blotting the paper in order to make no stains, or the hairs that could stick on such a pen. And when it’s time to clean it, what should we use? In earlier times, sepia disk were freely available at the beaches, and so they were used to wipe the pen, instead of ink flap.
Oh..c’mon! Your hand writing is really the worst here. Today you gained the donkey ears! Do you remember we talked about them referring to Pinocchio “Paese dei Balocchi”?
Driiiiin! Classes are over! It’s time to grab one of the school bags hanged to the wall: you either choose a modern colourful one or the vintage one, and go back to the present ti..well, I mean home! 😉
The museum is intended mainly for school classes, but it is opened repeatedly or on special occasions. Follow their Facebook page to know when they are open and the exact location in Macerata. Entrance fee: 3 euros.