Millennials are not coming. Millennials are here. Marketing teams at museums around the world are facing a major problem: how to drive the Generation Y (and Z!) through their doors. When you think about Florence you think about art. Surprisingly there are a lot of places in town that are working hard to get lit—so here are some museums worth noticing for their “millennial approach” to art and culture.
Museo Novecento, in piazza Santa Maria Novella, houses a terrific selection of 20th-century art across 15 areas, including the beautiful interior courtyard. Each area has “workstations” where you can chill and listen to the audio guide explaining its features, interesting details and fun facts. There are also sound spots and video rooms to hear original contributions by the artists or feel the vibes of a particular artistic period. At the front desk rent a tablet so you can draw your own version of an artwork and submit your De Chirico-esque efforts to be posted on social media.
If La Specola were a Destiny’s Child, it would be Michelle: not as famous as Beyoncé and Kelly, but equally talented. (Or did I get that the wrong way round in the talent stakes?) Along via Romana, right beside the Boboli Gardens, this natural history museum belonging to the University of Florence spans 34 rooms containing an incredible selection of zoological subjects, anatomical waxes and art created for the purpose of teaching medicine—basically the study materials of Meredith Grey’s ancestors.
The Horne Museum is named for Herbert Percy Horne, an English collector who donated his private house and art collection to the Italian state. Today’s layout reflects the owner’s taste with a large collection arranged as a private residence with exquisite furniture and everyday objects. The museum experience is quite distinctive: the guided tour starts with anecdotes and fun facts about the owner, which sashay into explanations of each artwork and how and why he decided to buy them for his collection.
CENTRO PECCI + MUSEO DEL TESSUTO
Take a day off from Florence and take the train to Prato. First stop, Pecci Center, the first museum in Tuscany to focus on contemporary art and a host of temporary exhibitions, international-calibre concerts and shows starring of-the-moment artists from all over the world. The restaurant and bar is a place to be seen while updating your Instagram stories. On the other side of the city, the Museo del Tessuto celebrates the glorious past and international fame of Prato’s textile industry through multimedia devices, guided tours, installations and hosting cool activities.
All of these museums are ahead of the game since they have found a contemporary way to display their rich collections. Multimedia devices, installations,
music and performing arts, they all speak a language: ours. Baby boomers will eventually learn to live with that.