The management of university museums and collections has been an issue for decades as they have played a crucial role in supporting the three missions of the higher education system: research, teaching and making academia’s resources available for public use. In this paper, we focus on the Italian case, where the enhancement, management and accessibility of university collections are all part of the evaluation system for universities. Our aim in this work is to propose a reconnaissance of university art collections in Italy and investigate the three managerial challenges defined by the Council of Europe: accessibility, financial sustainability and communication of university collections. The findings show that Italian universities hold an enormous cultural heritage, mainly undervalued, both in terms of number of artworks and in terms of the artworks’ economic value. In addition, Italian managerial approaches show significant critical issues regarding the three managerial challenges.
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