The museum of industry and labour in Brescia takes its name from Eugeni Battisti (1924-89), the historian of architecture who taught at universities in Italy and the United States, who was the biographer of Filippo Brunelleschi (1377-1446), an authority on utopian communities and the founder of the international association for utopian studies.
It was established as a result of the work of Luigi Micheletti (1927-94), a successful manufacturer of equipment for hydraulic engineering, who was the son of a tram driver from the Campo Fera district of Brescia, and was always proud of his working-class origins. Micheletti joined the anti-Fascist Fronto della Gioventi resistance movement in 1944, and in the following year was involved in fierce fighting around Brescia. As his business prospered in the years after the war he began to collect documents relating to working-class and resistance movements, and acquired some material from the offices of intelligence departments of Mussolini’s government that moved to the Brescia region in the last stages of the war and were then abandoned. A visit to the former concentration camp at Theresienstadt (now in the Czech Republic) in 1959 convinced him that he should develop his collection into a public archive, which he did, first within his own manufacturing premises, and then, from 1978 in a building in the medieval centre of Brescia provided by the city authorities.
His ambition to establish a museum of industry was not fulfilled until after his death. The museum displays a variety of machines and illustrates the progress of technological innovations in several areas of industry. It holds a substantial archive of photographs of industrial activity. The original Micheletti archive is conserved within the same building.