‘Marubi’ – from Photo Library to a Museum of Photography
The National Museum of Photography ‘Marubi’ was established as an absolute need to identify and promote the photographic archive created by the Marubi Dynasty and other city of Shkodra photographers, a cultural heritage unique in its kind.
At the center of the museum project is the legacy of the ‘Photo-Studio Marubbi’, founded in 1856 by Pietro Marubbi, an Italian painter and photographer who came and settled in Shkodra at the time. The activity of the studio over the years, was directed and enriched by three generations of photographers, until the early 1950s, time when Gegë Marubi was forced to give oneself up to the communist collective anonymity, by joining other photographers in the photography unit of the former Repair-Services Cooperative.
In 1970 was founded the Marubi Photo-Studio with around 500,000 negatives in various techniques and formats. Later on, historical images from the archive were (in many cases) used to feed the communist propaganda machine. It was during this period that many of them appeared in the editions of the time manipulated and alienated.
The new museum, projected by the architectural studio Casanova + Hernandez, has been designed as a space which promote the precious dialogue between tradition and modernity, past and present. The heritage and tradition are emphasized by means of the restoration project of the historic building designed by Kole Idromeno – Albanian artist and architect, former student of Pietro Marubbi – while preserving its structural features. The new museum extends its functions beyond the walls, in the pedestrian area of the city, through an exhibition structure located in front of its entrance, conceived as a connecting element which enables the open and living model of the museum to act as the cultural marker for the city of Shkodra. The set of programs proposed by the museum are an active mechanism for the promotion of the values of its cultural heritage in the city and beyond. The dynamics of the museum’s activities has consistently attracted the interest of visitors, researchers and curators at home and abroad since its opening. Marubi Museum was among the finalists nominated for the prestigious award, European Museum of the Year EMYA 2017.
The construction, musealization and programming of the National Museum of Photography ‘Marubi’ was supported by:
Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Albania Albanian-American Development Foundation (AADF) Albanian Development Fund Delegation of the European Union to Albania Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)
The motto ‘A museum can transform a city’ is inspired by Pietro Marubbi, the figure who had the enlightenment to bring for the first time, the magic of photography in Shkodra. Together with his students and assistants, they documented step by step moments of historical and social importance which shaped our national identity by “bringing to light” images of people, landscapes, architecture, historical events and traditional elements.
The Museum’s programs aim at preserving and promoting this cultural heritage by discovering the values and importance of the collection and simultaneously proposing an innovative approach through archive-inspired exhibitions and contributions by contemporary artists. The museum’s educational programs, publications and other activities are designed to reach a wide audience, with a particular focus on the younger generations. They aim to bring attention to the art of photography and encourage the research on the story told through the wondrous images of the Marubi archive.
We aim to preserve and promote Marubi’s heritage with the same dedication and creativity they conveyed in time, the beauty and the truth through photography. Today, the National Museum of Photography ‘Marubi’ follows their example, as a contemporary and dynamic institution, which aims to increase sensitivity and recognition on its inherited value, as well as to promote the further development of the art of photography and the research regarding it.