Born in 1980, it includes various funds and collections of which a selection is visible on the portal https://caisidoc.cai.it/.
It brings together the Photograph Library, the Iconographic Collections, the Mountaineering Archive and the Walter Bonatti Archive.
All collections may be consulted by appointment by contacting the head of the various departments by telephone or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
THE PHOTOGRAPH LIBRARY
The history of the Photograph Library is closely linked to that of the Turin Section of the CAI, from which it originated.
It conserves items that document the different aspects of the mountain. The main subjects are mountaineering, places, historical, sporting and cultural events, infrastructure and architecture, glaciology and geology. A significant part relates to the activity of the CAI and in particular to the Turin Section. Keep positives and negatives on different media made from 1850 onwards.
In constant increase thanks to new acquisitions and donations, the material is partly digitalised for consultation and publication purposes (partially available on the online cataloge https://caisidoc.cai.it/).
THE ICONOGRAPHIC COLLECTIONS
Everything in which mountains are present is worthy of being collected, catalogued, studied and conserved.
A path started with the purchase of film movie posters and tourist posters, fundamental documents for showing the evolution of mountain imagery, and continued with magazines, a variety of labels, fans, figure cards, menus, charity stamps, sheet music, vinyl records, board games, scarves… Even credit cards, bank notes and razor blades have been witnesses to mountains that have remained alive if only as an element of untiring marketing ploys (available on the website https://caisidoc.cai.it/).
THE MOUNTAINEERING ARCHIVE
It includes Führerbuchs, or “testimonials”, and guide registration sheets and mountain-refuge registers. It also includes other rather particular documents such as the registers of peaks, the Museum’s Visitors’ Books and personal memories. Both the Führerbuchs and the refuge registers are an important source for the history of mountaineering and mountain tourism, rich in information about climbs, about the choice of destination according to the seasons and the mountaineering fashions of the moment, about guide-client relationships, female participation, social and political changes, and changes in custom that reflect on how the mountains are lived (available on the online cataloge https://caisidoc.cai.it/).
An integral part of the Mountaineering Archive is the fund of the Karakorum 1954 Italian Expedition, donated to the Museum by the CAI Central Office in 1981, which complements the expedition material acquired previously (available on the website https://siusa.archivi.beniculturali.it/).
WALTER BONATTI ARCHIVE
In 2016, the Museo Nazionale della Montagna received all the materials belonging to the great climber as a donation from the heirs, giving life to the Walter Bonatti Archive. The archive includes thousands of mountain photos, dating from the late 1940s to the 1980s. Mountaineering equipment used by Bonatti in the 1950s and 1960s. And then typescripts, notes, technical reports, conference texts, public speeches, books, films and audio recordings, cameras. Thousands more slides made by Bonatti during exploration trips, from the first reportages for “Epoca” from the mid-sixties to the early 2000s, in addition to the preparatory materials for adventures in distant lands. And yet, sixty years of newspaper articles and correspondences (with friends, colleagues, admirers, different personalities and journalists). A very large patrimony of testimonies and memories, the amount of which is approximately 250,000 pieces. The reorganization of the collections is still ongoing and is expected to be available from 2021.