One of the city’s key public institutions since 1959, over the last 50 years the Galleria Civica di Modena has become one of the most authoritative cultural centres on the national contemporary arts scene.
In 1963, the year in which it began to operate on a permanent basis, the Galleria Civica di Modena was housed in the 18th-century Palazzo dei Musei. In spring 1995 it moved into the recently restructured Palazzo Santa Margherita, set in one of the most enchanting areas of the town’s historic centre, and thus acquiring both larger and more articulated exhibition and service spaces.
In 1983 it also started to make use of the prestigious Palazzina dei Giardini, an ex hunting lodge in the Giardini Ducali in Modena, a short distance from Palazzo Santa Margherita, currently undergoing thorough renovation works.
The Galleria Civica di Modena holds temporary exhibitions dedicated to contemporary art and photography; it promotes creativity among young people through its activities focusing on young artists, in collaboration with the Ufficio Giovani d'Arte di Modena, offering ongoing teaching services aimed at a range of different age groups, and organises a number of other activities such as meetings, conferences, and other events to do with the diffusion and exploration of contemporary artistic languages.
Furthermore, it also houses, adds to and valorises two important permanent collections: the Raccolta del Disegno Contemporaneo (Collection of Contemporary Drawing) which consists of over 4,000 sheets belonging largely to 20th-century Italian artists (De Pisis, Mafai, Sironi, Afro, Morlotti, Novelli, Morandi, Fontana, right up to Penone, Zorio, Arienti, Marisaldi and Cuoghi) and the Raccolta di Fotografia Contemporanea (Collection of Contemporary Photography), initially based on the collection donated by Franco Fontana, featuring over 3,500 photographs by many of the main contemporary photographers from around the world. Since 1999 it has also been home to the Raccolta Don Bettelli in commodatum from the Archiepiscopal Curia of Modena, which focuses largely on international graphics in the second half of the 20th century.
At the bookshop in Palazzo Santa Margherita, it is possible to consult and purchase exhibition catalogues along with a selection of museum gadgets created by young designers, in collaboration with the Ufficio Giovani d'Arte of Modena.