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La Centrale Montemartini

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It's a weird juxtaposition, but there's something really appealing about Rome's Centrale Montemartini. A collection of Roman antiquities displayed throughout the turbines and pistons of a disused factory.

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In 1997, the Capitoline Museums were being reorganized and 400 statues of Roman gods, goddesses, heroes, mythological creatures and emperors, as well as tombs, busts and mosaics, needed a new home.

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The Acea power station in southern Rome, in active use between the 1890s and the 1930s, became that home. At first conceived as a temporary exhibition space, it has now become permanent.

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Some artefacts have been returned to their original homes, but some have stayed – and other new acquisitions have joined them.

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The museum juxtaposes the two diametrically opposed worlds of classical archeology and industrial archeology. It's like exhibiting layers of the city's past, one on top of the other.

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Like the Tate Modern in London, it displays the city's industrial history but, unlike the Tate, its contents face the other direction, the classical era. Inspired – and inspiring. RM

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Images: La Centrale Montemartini

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  • oryx

    June 9, 2008

    It’s so dystopian, like this is kinda how I think museums will look after the eventual apocalypse.

    just kidding…kinda.

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