The museum is a fascinating place able to provoke emotions and to encourage questions and reflections and where the artworks themselves become storytellers. The ‘Museo delle Culture’ presents an extraordinary variety of lifestyles and ways of thinking, typical of men and women from a great variety of times and places. It transmits the incredible and inexhaustible will that human beings have to invent their own daily stories.
The Pedagogical Activities Service acts as a cultural bridge between reference and the museum's heritage, made accessible to a public of all ages with the respective language and pedagogical methodologies. Temporary activities are promoted by guides and pedagogical assistants, who were directly trained by the MCL resarchers. The activities include guided tours according to specific themes (also for primary and secondary schools), workshops, artistic and creative laboratories, scholastic programmes, workshops for children, training days for teachers, narrative and artistic performances, and special projects that include various visits to the museum.
Through various educational activities for adults, adolescents, children, schools and families, the museum encourages visitors of all ages to learn and respect the diverse art forms and cultures.
Experts will guide the visitors through the museum to introduce the customs and traditions of different populations. They will also stimulate reflection and questions on universal human values in a simple but charming fashion.
Visits that combine tours and conferences are particularly addressed to secondary school students, to individuals who have a strong interest in art and cultures, and to those university students who intend to specialize in anthropology, sociology, education or the history of art. The museum uses its educational programme to offer an actual space for personal and cultural growth. However, this space is not limited to children, but is open to anyone who strives to understand the richness of world cultures, thereby enriching their own identity and values.
Since 2006, the Museo delle Culture and the Società Ticinese di Belle Arti organise a yearly conference cycle entitled "Altr'Arti". The cycle offers a dialogue between Western art and “other arts” in order to understand the artistic languages of the twentieth century and of contemporary art. The past six editions of “Altr'Arti”were a great success: America (2006), Africa (2007), Asia (2008), Oceania (2009), Japan (2010), China (2011), India (2012) and Indo-China (2013). The last edition of the conference cycle, organized in collaboration with the Museo Nazionale di Arte Orientale "Giuseppe Tucci" of Rome (under the scientific direction of dr. Massimiliano A Polichetti), was held on March 2014 and focused on Tibet.
Amongst all of MCL’s institutional aims, the most compelling one is to provide temporary activities (educational projects, courses, laboratories) and seminars (basic education and continuous education) with the help of local academic institutions operating in the region. These activities are based on cultural anthropology, anthropology of art, museography, conservation, management and valorisation of cultural heritage. Such activities transmit the museum's heritage of experiences and researches on an academic level. They also enable the public to benefit from the museum's international network of contacts and scientific collaborations.
The museum also offers high-quality conferences and conference cycles to audiences who are interested in MCL themes. One of the most popular activities is the conference-tour.
Higher Education activities are normally organised and conducted by the museum staff or by chosen external experts.
Scientific research constitutes a major aspect of the museum's institutional identity, as well as the irreplaceable force behind its development. It operates as a fundamental tool for the organic interconnection that ultimately determines the general organisation of the museum’s activities on both a programming and operating level.
The Museum identifies specific areas of research that are of medium and long-term scientific relevance and agree with the areas of disciplinary interest according to the museum's Mission and Institutional Purposes Statement. The Work Plans define the orgnisation of research activities. The museum staff collectively decides the research areas and can count on the scientific support of the museum's Scientific Committee. Research activities are normally long-term projects and do not have a pre-fixed deadline. They are based on a progressive achievement of goals,according to preventive economic calculations and final balances. The research programmes are therefore periodically evaluated as their objectives and available resources may vary. Since research programmes are based on ethnographic methodology, they involve fieldwork and direct investigation alternated by periodical interventions on behalf of the museum staff. The research activities entail an ethic code which is adopted by all staff members and guarantees the adherence and full cooperation of the local communities and authorities. The MCL research projects are usually organised and planned with national and international partners, and benefit from regional and federal funds. The collaboration agreements generally include protocol and framework agreements, especially in the framework of international activities.
From an economical perspective the research activities entail the presentation of the research results in the most appropriate sites and materials. These include working materials (traditional or online), printed publications, catalogues and multimedia publications. These results constitute a topic of primary relevance that is even presented to the public during seminars and Higher Education activities, and also during exhibition cycles in collaboration with universities and cultural institutes and academies. Such activities are strongly addressed towards the constitution of multi-year programmes on themes based on the museum’s activities. It is extremely important to convert the research activities into a platform that develops educational activities, which may be of particular interest for various school (and non-school) targets.