Museum and Foundation

Paper and graphic arts: culture and technique

A multi-purpose ( Museum Centre dedicated to the world of paper production: machinery, production processes, papers, but also the history of local settlements and lifestyles. The project got off the ground with the first core - Men, machines, landscapes - founded in September 2002 thanks to the dynamism of the Municipal administration of Toscolano Maderno and enthusiasm of the Toscolano Paper mill Pensioners Group. The company's precise aim was to relaunch an important cultural heritage

After starting from the Maina Inferiore plant's little porters lodge, the museum was then expanded, thanks to funds from the Lombardy Regional Authority, by incorporating the adjacent old production building. This means that a series of activities connected with the world of paper can now be hosted, among which a small production centre that shows past methods used in the valley and workshops where binding and restoration of old books take place.

The Valle delle Cartiere Foundation was officially ratified in March 2007 during the Congress of the Italian Association of Printing and Paper Museums.

Through management of the Museum Centre and its activities the Foundation aims to promote the valley's industrial archaeological heritage. In addition to the Municipality of Toscolano Maderno, the Foundation's members include Burgo Group spa and the Toscolano Paper mill Pensioners Group.

The Museum: the paper itinerary

The Museum comprises a number of rooms that tell the story of the world of paper: its production, the processes, machinery, but also the environment and social fabric that was involved in this industry.

The Room of Records contains publications, documents concerning local paper mills, videos and postcards to create an itinerary covering both the locations and production. In the Room of Memories a few mementos: photographs, publications – among which a celebratory publication covering the Maffizzoli paper mill in the 1920s – a wooden winch wheel dating from 1700 and the model of a towboat.

In the Production Room there is a faithful reproduction of the environment and production cycle of a paper mill in the 1700s.

Exhibits in the Watermark Room feature a number of moulds used to produce watermarked sheets and examples of machinery from the 1800s.

Outside the ex-porters lodge is some machinery dating from the early 1900s: a calender for glazing paperboard; a Dutch cylinder that was used to refine pulp for paper production; a purifier that came into operation before the pulp entered the paper machine; a cutter and grinder for breaking down raw material.