Representing the War. Early Twentieth Century Maps and Models in the Fonds of the Italian War History Museum in Rovereto
Keywords: Military Cartography, Topographical Models, First World War, Trentino
Abstract. The representation of the areas in which some of the most significant events of the First World War took place has produced a wide range of materials, such as cartography, aerial and terrestrial photos, textual descriptions and field surveys. In addition, war events were also represented through three-dimensional models. Topographic maps and models constitute composite figurations, which are rich in informative data useful for the preservation of the memory of places and for increasing the knowledge of cultural heritage. Hence, these sources need to be studied, described, interpreted and used for future enhancement. The focus of this paper are archival materials from the collections kept at the Italian War History Museum of Rovereto (Museo Storico Italiano della Guerra), in the Trentino-Alto Adige region. Firstly, we will investigate the cartographic fond in order to assess the composition and origin of its materials. Secondly, we will present the Museum’s collection of Early-Twentieth Century models. Such precious heritage is not yet part of an exhibition, and is kept in the Museum’s warehouses. The paper constitutes the occasion to present the initial results of a still ongoing project by the Geo-Cartographic Centre for Study and Documentation (GeCo) of the University of Trento on the study and analysis of two archival complexes preserved in the abovementioned Museum. In particular, the paper focuses on the heuristic value of such representational devices, which enable an analysis of the different methods and languages through which space is planned and designed, emphasizing the complementarity between different types of visualization.