"Collectors are often seen as selfish people who want to own things without giving anything in return. On the contrary, I think that collectors are great philanthropists. They pick up and arrange things, building small, perfect and accomplished worlds of the neglected past, thus gaining valuable knowledge. They are well aware of the fact that what they own will not be theirs forever, because as time goes by others will follow. Intact collections are important for future generations, they represent a real gift to them. And that alone is enough to justify the financial sacrifices and squandering that a collector must bear. " Serge Brignoni, 1989
The Serge Brignoni collection forms the foundation of the Museo delle Culture.
The genres and geographical origins of the Brignoni collection items are mostly the same as those found in leading European, North American and Australian collections from the first half of the twentieth century. Furthermore, the collection includes almost all of the "items" which were considered as essential by collectors of that time. The majority of works come from the Far East, India, Southeast Asia, Indonesia and Oceania.
The works are the result of an attentive selection favouring the finest workmanship. Generally Brignoni prefers sculptures to other art forms. It's interesting to note his peculiar inclination towards wooden sculptures, characterised by clearly expressionist contents, imaginative patterns and rich decorations.
In 2006, the Museo delle Culture reached an agreement with the government of the Canton Ticino on the Nodari Fund and Collection. According to this agreement, the Canton of Ticino remained the owner of the Nodari Fund and Collection, but agreed to permanently lend the entire collection and the documentary fund to the Museo delle Culture.
The collection consists of a thousand artworks, two large river boats, almost 6,000 pictures, 71 documentary films and over 60 hours of tape recordings, collected by Alfredo and Emma Nodari during their journeys to Africa (notably in the Congo) in the 1950s and 1960s.
The Ceschin Pilone - Fagioli Collection gathers 5.185 photographies which were shot in Japan between 1860s and 1910s, on albumen printing, and later hand colored.
The collection is among the richest collections of Japanese photograpy on albumen printing exisitng in the world, and certainly one of the largest outside Japan. It is the result of a patient and refined quest achieved by the professor Marco Fagioli since 1973.
In 2012 the Collection has been acquired by the Fondazione «Ada Ceschin e Rosanna Pilone» of Zurich, which has decided to entrust it, free of charge and for an unlimited amount of time, to the Museum of Cultures.