As for all places of culture, the period of Covid-19 has also been a difficult one for the Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo di Milano's Archives, yet at the same time also an opportunity. First of all, it has been an opportunity to realise - once more - that the archives are there to be opened, studied, consulted, and recounted. The papers conserved amongst the long shelves, which in our Archives retrace over six centuries of the history of the Duomo and the city, are not immobile relics of a bygone age, but lively testimonies to a story that continues, that provokes us, teaches us and enlightens us on our present journey.
The closure to public consultation during the pandemic's hardest moments was an act as much due as it was suffered, and the joy upon reopening, albeit limited, was enormous.
But even in the moments of apparent silence and standstill the Archives never stopped. Many researchers were able to continue their studies remotely thanks to the assistance of staff who helped as much as possible by sharing material and experience. The normal work of assisting the activity of the Fabbrica, study, and research has never halted even going far beyond the shadow of the splendid spires through numerous digital storytelling initiatives. Through webinars we have reached a diverse public, from schoolchildren to photography enthusiasts, from Milanese closed in their homes dreaming of seeing the Madonnina again soon to those, many miles away, who still had not yet seen it in real life.
All these activities have been possible also thanks to LETS GO! by Fondazione Cariplo, in order to preserve the services rendered by Third Sector entities in the areas of Environment, Art and Culture, and Personal Services. The grant was issued with the specific purpose of giving continuity to the institution's normal activities by ensuring the adaptation and continuation of services put at risk as a result of the consequences of the Covid-19 emergency.