Collections of Natural History


 

The Collections of Natural History, which were originally located inside the Museo Tecnologico, were organised for the purpose of providing a knowledge of natural products by favouring an association of their use and transformations with manufactured products and the machinery necessary for their relative work processes.

 

In 1870 Professor Pietro Marchi, a naturalist physician, a teacher of Natural History, and later Director of the Istituto, was assigned the task of re-classifying the scientific material of the Museo Tecnologico relative to Natural History, with the aim of making it available to the new course of studies. This was a lengthy work, which in fact took 15 years to complete.

The collections were located in 8 large rooms, with the following distributions: 

Mineralogy Room: contains numerous collections of minerals and rocks, fossil combustibles, and variously polished and worked building materials. Of considerably interest is a collection of crystallographic models made of glass and wood

Geology Room I: its rich Tuscan geognostic-lithologic collection is organised according to the respective periods

Geology Room II: contains collections of copper and iron minerals from different European countries

Palaeontology Room: in it is a fine collection of plant and animal fossils, represented by more than 1050 exemplars

Botany Room I: contains numerous collections of graminaceous, leguminous and polygonaceous seeds for horticulture and silviculture. Collections of tea, coffee, cocoa, etc.

Botany Room II: contains a magnificent collection of mushrooms made of wax, numerous herbals (Antoir, Bardi), and a collection of 160 Brendel of Berlin models (flowers and other parts of plants)

Zoology Room: contains a collection of the most well-known animals belonging to the various orders of vertebrates and invertebrates, an entomological collection belonging to the Guicciardini family, a very precious collection of microscopic specimens, a collection of glass models of molluscs, echinoderms, and coelenterates; and, lastly, a collection of preparations made of wax that demonstrate diseases in vines and other agricultural products

Industry Room: contains a collection of  industrial and manufactured products, for a total of more than six thousand titles described in the catalogue that are divided into three classes: Applied mineralogy: ancient and modern porcelain and majolica; artificial marble; glass; asphalt; mineral oils; mineral and above all metallic  products; mineral colours and mineral-chemical products; Applied botany: timber for various industries and products; textile fibres, straw and paper; vegetal colours, chemical products extracted from vegetables used in industry and in medicine; fatty and vegetal oils; soaps; rubber and gum resins; Chinese and Japanese products, fabrics and embroideries; Applied zoology: fatty and animal-sugar materials; fragrant animal materials; musk, amber, guano and artificial  fertilisers; glue and gelatines; wool, horsehair, bristles, feathers, ivory, fur, leather and tanned hide, silk and products, sponges and corals.

All the rooms were accompanied by magnificent oil-paintings by Egisto Tortori.

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