History

Cabinet Of Natural History

The Natural History collections, originally located within the Technological Museum, were set up to spread the knowledge of natural products and to illustrate particular aspects of the territory.

The mineralogical and lithological collections are very significant due to the great economic importance of the raw materials extracted from the Tuscan mines and deposits. As far as botany is concerned, the herbaria of local interest documenting the flora of the territory were accompanied by more didactic collections, such as monothematic ones relating to plants of particular agronomic or pharmaceutical interest.

The expansion of the heritage also took place thanks to the Institute’s numerous scientific and cultural contacts. A series of fish preserved in liquid arrived from the Anton Dohrn Zoological Station in Naples; by the Ceroplastic Workshop of the I. and R. Museum of Physics and Natural History of Florence (now the Zoology Section of the Natural History Museum of the University of Florence), many wax preparations of human and comparative anatomy were received. The contacts that the Institute managed to establish with the main Italian suppliers of scientific material (Dall’Eco, Martignoni & Mela, Zambelli & Omodei …) and European ones (Maison Deyrolle of Paris, Lenoir & Forster of Vienna, Möller-Wedel of Hostein, Václav Frič of Prague …) were decisive for the expansion of the equipment.

Finally, participation in international and local exhibitions also constituted an opportunity to acquire, from the exhibitors, the best products then existing on the market. The Institute was thus able to compete with the most prestigious scientific institutions of the time in terms of teaching and technological innovation.

The Cabinet of Natural History was considerably enriched through the acquisition of collections of various kinds and in 1879 acquired its own identity.

It then incorporated the collections of manufacturing and industrial products of the original Technological Museum, now housed in a large dedicated room, called the “Hall of Industries”.