On Wednesday 2 May, thanks to the gift from Baroness Rosanella Lello Nogara and the ambassador Bernardino Osio, the Vatican Museums Historical Archive will receive 41 handwritten notebooks of Bartolomeo Nogara, distinguished Director General of the Pontifical Museums and Galleries from 1920 to 1954, the year of his death. At the moment of his appointment as Director of the Museums, on 1 October 1990, Nogara was able to benefit from a twenty-year knowledge of the Vatican cultural institutions: as Latin scriptor of the Vatican Apostolic Library and Special Director of the Gregorian Etruscan Museum from 1900, and Conservator of the Profane Museum of the Vatican Library from 1903.
He was the director who accompanied the Museums in the renovation process that followed the signing of the Conciliation between the Church and the Italian State in 1929, and in the structural changes that followed the birth of Vatican City State.
In his 34 years of service at the summit of the Pope’s Museums, Nogara substantially renovated the administrative structure of the Institution, guiding it towards a new and modern phase, aimed at planned conservation, grass-roots campaigns of cataloguing and inventory-taking, and functional planning of restoration. In accordance with this approach, the Research Laboratories were established from 1923 to 1932, and the Cabinet for Scientific Research and Applications from 1939 to 1942, still fundamental to the activity of the Museums. Under his guidance new arrangements for the collections were inaugurated, the Missionary Ethnological Museum was created in the Lateran Palace, the new monumental entrance to the Museums was realized and a special building was constructed for the Vatican Pinacoteca, designed by the architect Luca Beltrami.
The generous donation of the notebooks, in which Nogara wrote down the salient events in his long and fruitful service and his reflections from 1921 to 1952, offer to the Museums a new and valuable source for the history of the Institution, which owes much to the esteemed Director.