Marubi Museum towards digitalization
When the ‘Marubbi’ photographic studio was established in Shkoder in 1856 very few people were aware that this event, at the infancy of world history of photography, would mark the beginning of visual documentation of a series of very important historic events in Albania.
Pietro Marubbi, an Italian photographer escaping from the conflicts surrounding Italy’s wars for unification at that time, brought with him perhaps the first photographic machine in Albania which is only one of the many invaluable objects now preserved in the Fototeka Marubi.
With almost half a million photographic plates and film negatives collected over 157 years, Fototeka Marubi is today one of the most important national heritage institution functioning under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture. Besides Pietro Marubbi’s originals this institution also preserves negatives and photos of some of the most famous Albanian photographers such as Kel and Gegë Marubi (Pietro’s apprentices and successors), Mati Kodheli, Kolë Idromeno, Shan Pici, Kolë Maca, Dedë Jakova, Pjetër Rraboshta, Angjelin Nënshati and many more.
In 2013, UNDP Albania joined the multi dimensional efforts undertaken by this institution and the Albanian government to promote the immeasurable value that this cultural and historical heritage carries at national and international scale.
In partnership with the Fototeka Marubi, the Ministry of Culture and the Autonomous Region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia in Italy, which is well known for its tradition of photo cataloguing and digitalization, UNDP Albania is now implementing the initiative named Marubi Virtual Museum.
The project consists in the archiving, cataloguing and digitalization of Marubi photographic archives as well as the development of a comprehensive web interface promoting and presenting the archives to visitors seeking to discover Albania’s cultural and historic identity through immersion in a visual tour of photography.
This intervention would enable foreign and domestic visitors to tail tourist itineraries based only on Marubi images. Furthermore, the project will support the establishment of an e-shop for researchers and other photography lovers. For the first time, the copyrights of the authors of the photographs will be acknowledged.
At present, with the needed technological hardware in place, the “Fototeka Marubi” staff is being trained by experts Friuli-Venezia Giulia in the usage of best techniques of cataloguing and digitalization of photographs compliant to EU standards.
The Director of “Fototeka Marubi”, Mr. Luçjan Bedeni, amongst others said: “This initiative is one of the most important interventions that the Fototeka Marubi has ever seen through the years. The digitalization is crucial for the preservation, quality conservation and promotion of this national heritage both within the country and internationally.
This intervention is being undertaken by UNDP ART GOLD 2 programme which works to introduce and transfer best practices with regard to regional development and decentralization using the decentralized cooperation modality as well as supports the implementation of strategic partnerships between the selected Albanian communities and the ART GOLD international partners.