Lugano: a great afternoon at the Museo in Erba

The Museo in Erba(a children museum) is located to Lugano, in Via Riva Caccia 1. It is not a new museum, it is the same one that used to be found in Bellinzona and has recently been relocated to Lugano. It has found a new “home” by the lake, on the first floor of the “Central Park” building.

Museo in Erba LuganoThe Museo in Erba (which is not the LAC)

There are still many mothers who confuse the Museo in Erba with the Masi Museum, or with the educational programs organized by the Lac Museum (Lac Edu). This is not true: they are separate identities, even if they are located close to each other.

The Museo in Erba, which is a private museum, is an interactive one. There are no original works on display; the museum uses themed panels and creative workshops. The aim is to bring children nearer to the world of art, in a playful way.

By contrast, the Masi Museum (Lac Edu) offers guided visits and workshops which are specifically created in the context of the current exhibitions. In this case, the works of art are authentic (for further info, see our article).

I have to say that the Museo in Erba is not very easy to find, as it is a bit hidden away.  It is not really out-of-the-way, but it is certainly well-hidden. Suggestion: play the game “who will be the first one to find the museum?”, so your children will have fun while being lost and looking for it …

I signed up my children on a rainy Saturday, on the phone and in the morning, trying to book them into the afternoon workshop (they still had a few available places, so I was happy I phoned!). As soon as we stepped inside, we were greeted by a very kind woman called Loredana, who explained us how the workshops “work”.

The first part of the afternoon is dedicated to the workshop itself, the second part to the exhibition… and the parents? Bye bye kids, see you in an hour and a half!

Museo in Erba LuganoThe workshop

The topic of the exhibition my kids went to (which was on display until 4 June 2017) is: “The art brut, art where you do not expect it”. Art Brut as a concept was invented in 1945 by the French artist Jean Dubuffet. These Art Brut artists were a group of people who focused on the creative process, creating everything, spontaneously and freely, without worrying about the aesthetics and the final results. The “brut” artists turned their dreams into reality, told stories, imagined things, mixed together different art forms (for example drawing and music), recycled objects and assembled them, gave colour, embroidered, painted. In other words: they produced unique works of art, beyond imagination.

Museo in Erba LuganoThis, in brief, is what the workshop was about. The children thus had the opportunity to concoct and create their own art piece, using diverse recycled materials.

Museo in Erba LuganoThe interactive exhibit

After the creative part of the workshop, the children are encouraged to wander the exhibition hall freely and discover by themselves the several “panels”. These panels, as I said before, are interactive. They display games and activities, with the aim of bringing children nearer to the world of art though playing. I won’t go into details about each panel (I’m not a spoiler!) but do let me tell you that kids will have to untie things, dress up, touch, wedge in pieces, complete tasks, create…

Museo in Erba LuganoWhat can I say? The kids had a ball and enjoyed every single minute of their visit. The exhibition hall is open to adults, too – so it would be nice if you (parents) could join your kids and try out some of the activities/experiences with them. I had a lot of fun, and so will you.

Museo in Erba Lugano

The Museo in Erba is extremely well done and intuitive, in the sense that children do not have to read all the explanations of the panels, to understand what they have to do. What I would perhaps change is the order in which things are done: it would be more logical to visit to the exhibition first and do the creative workshop later, so that kids will be more aware of what they are doing. My twins were delighted about the afternoon at the Museo in Erba, but when asked, they could not really explain what they had created in the atelier. Their creations, however, were impressive… so maybe this is also part of the Art brut process!

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