Hemp Museum - Sant'Anatolia di Narco
Distance from postignano
The Hemp Museum is located in the ancient village of Sant’Anatolia di Narco, in the Valnerina at the foot of Monte Coscerno and bordered by the Nera river.
The museum was inaugurated in 2008 and reopened to the public with a new exhibition in 2016. It is part of the Ecomuseum of the Umbrian Apennine Dorsal and acts as centre for the gathering and diffusion of material and cultural heritage, dedicated to the cycle of hemp processing and weaving.
With the new layout, the Museum added actual weaving workshops alongside the exhibition spaces. The current exhibit presents manual looms with four and eight heddles and allows observing from up close how they work, discovering how a loom is capable of weaving warp and weft to produce fabrics. The workshops spaces periodically host educational activities designed for children and teens, school trips and weaving courses for adults.
These spaces also provide examples of the current and future potential use of hemp, such as in the green-building sector. The premises were, in fact, refurbished employing hemp and lime plaster, a natural ecological combination whose main characteristics are to be acoustically and thermally insulating as well as humidity-absorbing. In 2016 this intervention earned the Museum the "Green Heart Quality" brand by the Umbria Region for reducing the energy consumption of the structure; it also testifies the commitment to the present-day by what was initially conceived as a place of recollection.
In the past, the Museum has also participated in projects related to the most advanced applications of an eclectic material such as hemp, like the T.U.N. Project. (Textile Umbro Naturale), linked to the experimentation in the textile production lines of hemp, wool and natural dyes, or the Fabric-Action Project of the Umbria Region realised in collaboration with the Milan Polytechnic and Polifactory, aimed at prototyping design objects made with natural and innovative hemp-based materials.
The remaining exhibition spaces have been renovated to better illustrate the process of hemp cultivation and exploitation, both in the domestic and industrial environments. During the visit, it is possible to rediscover the phases involved in transforming raw hemp into a thread and then into fabric, from sowing to harvesting, from maceration to spinning. It is not only the objects exhibited, mainly from local sources, that relate the memories linked to this plant: through some video installations the voices and recollections of local people, such as Eugenio and Angelo the canapai or Linneo the ropemaker, guide the visitor in the rediscovery of a world of skill and ingenuity, but also of traditions and proverbs.
In addition to looms, spindles, thistles and spinning wheels, the museum also has an important textile archive, in which yarns of various kinds are kept, from simple hemp sacks to precious linen, to the rolls of canvas that were stored in the family trunks to be used in case of need. Finally, to complete the collections kept at the museum, there is an archive that includes books relating to the textiles theme, ranging from the end of the 19th century to the present day, and about 700 fashion magazines, datable between the 1920s and the1970s.