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Diffused Museum: Science and technology. History and stories of the University of Padua

The University of Padua has an exceptional historical heritage of a technical and scientific nature thanks to the teaching and research conducted in Padua over the centuries and up to the present day. Most of this heritage is preserved in the University’s museums, much of which has not been exposed to the public, until now. These hidden pieces have emerged and are enhanced thanks to the “Scattered collections” project launched in 2014. Relying largely on the results of this project and the occasion of the eight hundred anniversary of the University, twelve departments of four different schools – Science, Engineering, Medicine, and Psychology – proposed in 2019 to create a diffusion of museums entitled “Science and Technology. History and Stories of the University of Padua.”

Presented on June 7, 2022, not as a temporary exhibition, but as a permanent museum consisting of twelve exhibitions. Located at each of the 12 participating departments, the historical instruments displayed retell the story of the scientists who used them by retracing past and present research.

Visitors can retrace, through the scientific instruments and the buildings in which they are located, significant and often lesser-known historical aspects of the University of Padua and its teaching and research institutes, including those of the past and more recent. Designed by Studio Amuse and built by Jolli Allestimenti and Segnobit, the exhibit allows the public to grasp the modular structure of the exhibitors and the graphics that unite them, creating a museum that unfolds as a network within the city.

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Map of Padua indicating the twelve museum’s exhibitions and their renderings

University of Padua Rector Daniela Mapelli comments, “Thanks to the important and precise recovery operation that led to the opening of our diffusion of museums, we can share a more in-depth story behind the history of our university and the different discoveries that drive it. The insight behind the project leads us to observe “Science and Technology. History and Stories of the University of Padua” as a symbolical completion of the months in which we celebrate our eight hundredth year of activities. The exceptional historical heritage, which I invite you to visit, heightens the academic soul of the places and buildings that have boar witness and written upon their walls, day after day toward the long history of our university”.

One objective of the project is to raise awareness among the scientific community on the importance of preserving the heritage of instruments and their documentation for future generations even when they are no longer in use.

Giulio Peruzzi, Professor of History of Physics and History of Science and Technology at the Department of Physics and Astronomy and the Scientific Director of the project adds his comments,
“The aim is to offer a historical and cultural identity to the often anonymous and unadorned atriums of our university. Strengthening the sense of belonging of the entire academic community to an institution with such a long and glorious past. This project allows the general public to grasp the rich history of teaching and research carried out by our university in all sectors of science and technology, discovering in many cases lesser-known areas. Finally, this project stimulates our scientific community by preserving the tools it uses today, destined to become precious new pieces of this rich history for future generations.”

The twelve participating departments: Physics and Astronomy, Geosciences, Civil Construction and Environmental Engineering, Information Engineering, Industrial Engineering, Mathematics, General Psychology, Developmental and Socialization Psychology, Biomedical Sciences, Chemical Sciences, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Statistical Sciences.

The initiative is part of the Grand Tour of Sciences project, which opens the doors to the universities most prestigious science locations to the public, every Saturday and Sunday with the cost of a single ticket during the entire duration of the 800-year celebrations.