Gaetano Bonelli, Director of the Museum of Napoli – Bonelli Collection. Photography © Angelo Marra

1.What is your museum about and what are its challenges?

The Museum of Napoli – Bonelli Collection, tells the city of Napoli from a demo-ethno-anthropological point of view.

The ambition is to contribute, through the vision of the testimonies collected and on display, to give another image of the city, less obvious, non oleographic and more in line with the most authentic matrix, that of the most noble Napoli which enchanted and inspired poets, writers, artists and travelers, who have always made it an essential destination.

2.What kind of remarkable digital innovation would you like to share with us? It can be online and/or in your physical space.

The testimonies present in the museum refer to times that in many respects are remote to us, but then we realize how much closer they are to our days instead of what we usually think.

It is true that nowadays, following the pandemic, social networks require a direct, rapid connection that allows reaching as many contacts as possible. We recently opened a website in order to be reached by everyone and in particular, by the new generations who are predisposed to this type of approach.

3.What are the social media platforms that your museum chose for its digital presence and who are your primary target audiences?

In addition to the recent opening of the website, we are present on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and on Tripadvisor. The network offers many opportunities thanks to which it is possible to create new contacts and interactions that otherwise it would be more difficult to develop. It is an opportunity today more than ever necessary.

4.If you had to keep one social media platform to reach youngsters, which one would you pick?

Certainly I would not do without Instagram, because every day new feedback and expressions of interest emerge from young people and many professional realities.

5.Tell us how are you facing the coronavirus emergency with the museum? What strategies are you using.

Unfortunately, all the activities we had planned for this year are inevitably postponed to next year. Even the guided tours with school groups, associations and tourist guides, unfortunately, we had to cancel.

We maintain, through social media, a daily contact with those who follow us for years, but at the same time always develop new contacts. We are also evaluating the idea of creating virtual visits to be transmitted on social networks.

6.Do you have a professional alter-ego somewhere in the world to whom you would like to ask a professional question?

The museum has an extraordinary civic value recognized, as regards the history and culture of Napoli and with the twenty thematic areas covered it could interact with many museums.

However, there is a collection sector that has an international footprint, and even more evident than other issues, which is inherent in the phenomenon of emigration.

I would therefore like to interact with the Ellis Island Immigration Museum, for an exhibition to be held in Napoli and New York, a city with multiple similarities, which is not surprising that they also share the same parallel.

Interview by Fabio Pariante, journalist


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Gaetano Bonelli (Napoli, 1972) for over thirty years has been collecting everything about the city of Napoli and, since 2017, he is the Director of the Museum of Napoli – Bonelli Collection: a collection of over ten thousand pieces including rare documents and unique objects that make up the twenty thematic areas of the collection.

Journalist since 1995, Bonelli has gained work experience in the journalistic, editorial and cultural fields, President of the cultural association “Napoli nobilissima”.

As head of external relations of the Chiurazzi historical foundry in Napoli, he proposed to ideally return the Roman bronzes to the city of Herculaneum, suggesting to place replicas of the Drunken Faun and the group of Dancers from Herculaneum in the modern city. The same happened for the art stations, where the bronze copy of the Laocoon was placed in the underpass of the Museum station that connects the metro station with the MANNNational Archaeological Museum of Napoli.

Over the years, Bonelli has received several awards and commendations for the activity carried out in order to promote and safeguard Neapolitan culture. Among others, in 2010 he was awarded the Sebetia ter international prize, in 2018 the Megaris prize and in 2019 the Masaniello prize.