The mission of Fondazione Neri is to conserve the historical and cultural heritage of cities so that the traces of previous inhabitants of the same places are not lost but are instead recognised and the city can be seen actively and with awareness as a public resource.
In the space of fifteen years a rich collection of items in cast iron has been created, removed from their original sites and saved in this way from destruction. The collection consists mainly of lampposts from different towns and cities in Italy and Europe, produced in the second half of the nineteenth century and the first decades of the twentieth century, as well as fountains and benches, railings, brackets, lintels, door knockers and kerbstones. Fondazione Neri manages the Italian Cast Iron Museum (MIG) with its three displays. The largest location is inside a former industrial plant at Longiano (FC) on the Emilia statale road. A second one is in the fascinating setting of a small deconsecrated eighteenth-century church, in the village of Longiano. Finally a permanent open-air exhibition has been set up in the nineteenth-century public park in Cesena. The final two locations are managed via an agreement with the respective municipalities of Longiano and Cesena, which are also institutional stakeholders of the Fondazione. The Italian Cast Iron Museum is unique in Italy, and possibly also in the rest of the world.
Parallel to the setting-up a rich archive was created (period postcards and catalogues, books, photos), all the essential materials for building up knowledge of the single items and in general of the period of history in which the production of cast iron features dominated. Study and research were essential for ensuring that the museum project could be configured as a cultural project, open to the public and to schools.
Permanent exhibitions and temporary shows, schemes for collaboration with cultural organisations and research centres, exchanges with corporate museums and universities, both in Italy and internationally, are features of work by the Fondazione.