Gianna Antonia Mina

1958

Director of the Museo Vincenzo Vela, Ligornetto

"I am particularly interested in the role that museums play in contemporary society, education and functioning networks at a time when the challenges faced by public institutions are increasing."

My career path

I am an art historian (medievalist), and currently director of the Museo Vincenzo Vela in Ligornetto (Ticino). I’m also a curator of various exhibitions and publications, and a member of numerous local and national boards. I was, for instance, president of the Swiss Museums Association for eight years, and I am the chair of the Board of Fine Arts of the Canton of Ticino and a member of the Swiss UNESCO committee. I am particularly interested in the role that museums play in contemporary society, education and functioning networks at a time when the challenges faced by public institutions are increasing.

My passion. I feel privileged to work in culture at the national level, to be in contact with works of art and to be part of a small but very enthusiastic team (of mostly women). I also feel privileged to be able to make choices and encourage other people to consider heritage as a public issue. I’m also driven by the beauty of the museum’s location and the specific nature of its collection, the freedom I have to work on interesting and unusual projects, and the hope that I can make even the smallest difference in how people view the museum. I also have the opportunity to constantly increase my knowledge and to help others to deepen theirs.

My career path. My mother told me about this position. My father was there for me throughout the initial difficulties and doubts. My superior at the time, the one who hired me, remained a fundamental figure up to his retirement. My husband supported me, and my children did the same by being proud of me. The museum’s public has openly shown appreciation for my work. Early on in my career, I enjoyed great support, both from my hierarchy, my family and friends, and my colleagues further afield. But sadly, there is now less of that solidarity, especially since competition among museums has grown along with the self-promotion of numerous museum directors.

A downside or obstacle ? Not being able to further increase the museum’s notoriety owing to its peripheral location and budget cuts.

Im proud of having transformed this dormant house-cum-museum into a respected and vibrant institution ; of having found ways to engage the public, including migrants and marginalized communities ; and of each day seeking to manage the museum based on shared values, solidarity with other museums and a human approach. I’m also proud that I’ve helped to restore the self-confidence of some talented women who had been marginalized by the system.

The Proust Questionnaire

This section is available only in the original language
Other interests beyond work

Classical music, politics and cooking.

People who inspire you

Hannah Arendt and Leonard Bernstein.

A book & a film

Baltic Souls (Jan Brokken) and Ship of Fools (Stanley Kramer).

One or more role models

My parents, and the experience of visiting museums in the UK in the 1980s and early 1990s.

An object

Spectacles

A colour

Red and purple

A dream

To take up Russian and the piano again.