Last Friday, in the Vatican Museums, Pope Francis was the first visitor to the renovated Ethnological Museum, which not only has a new structure and layout, but also a new and particularly evocative name: “Ethnological Museum Anima Mundi”.
It was a special inauguration that took place on 18 October in the presence of the Pontiff, the members of Governorate of Vatican City State and the Directorate of the Museums and Cultural Heritage, and also and above all the many Synod Fathers present in the Vatican for the Synod for Amazonia.
Indeed it is not by chance that the Amazon is the focus of the first exhibition – with the weighty and symbolic title Mater Amazonia. The deep breath of the world – to be held in this new Museum that, after two years of intense work, and still only partially renovated, has rediscovered its ideal momentum and a layout finally adequate to its specific mission: to preserve – in the words of the curator, Father Nicola Mapelli – in harmonious synthesis, the evidence of the art and culture of all peoples of the world and, through them, their spirit, indeed their soul.
The Holy Father, in inaugurating the museum space which will officially be open to the public from 28 October, did not fail to emphasize the Vatican Museums’ vocation of welcoming, as a living “home”, inhabited by and open to all, with the doors wide open to populations from all over the world, and exhorted, as on other occasions, the cultivation of beauty and art as an antidote to the culture of resentment, racism and nationalism.