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Science Museums
The origins of Milan's science museums go back many years. The Natural History Museum was founded in 1838 as the first public museum in the city, a direct result of Lombardy's great naturalist tradition; its original exhibits came from donations made by Milanese scientists and collectors.

Science museums

Today the situation is not so satisfactory, especially if this collection is compared with that of the Smithsonian in Washington, DC, or of the British Museums' Natural History Department in Kensington, London. The times in which Milan's Natural History Museum was one of the most important in Europe came to an abrupt end in 1943, when a bombardment almost totally destroyed both the building and the splendid old collections housed there. And the National Museum of Science and Technology, despite its roaring start in the 50s, has only recently recovered after suffering for a long time the effects of a shortage of funds.

  a key to Milan home page space
excerpt from pages 93-94
Museo di Storia Naturale
The place destined to house the City Council's natural history collections was built ad hoc in 1893, on a site - inside the Giardini Pubblici - that had long been occupied by museums. After the destruction wrought by the war, it was methodically rebuilt along the same lines and constantly enriched and rearranged. Today the museum has regained a fair standard: it performs its didactic role very efficiently and the effort made to reconstitute the lost collections has produced twenty rooms with some remarkable pieces. There is also a good library, as well as collections especially designed for scholars and specialists.

The collections that are usually open to the public consist of mounted animals, including examples of several extinct species, and mineral and palaeontological collections. The reconstruction and the efficient functioning of the museum have been possible thanks to its extraordinary staff, who operate in a climate of passionate professional commitment.
In 1984 the museum exhibited - after having made great efforts recovering them - many items from an interesting 17th century Milanese natural science collection, known as the Settala collection, or Museum Septalianum. It consists of exhibits such as scientific instruments, clocks, minerals, mounted animals, shells and even robots, which reveal the cultural vitality of this period of history when the natural sciences were approached with an attitude full of curiosity and wonder towards man and his habitat.
This exhibition was planned to last only one year but its natural history section has become permanent. There's a chance, however, that it will return to the Ambrosiana to which it previously belonged.

Museo della Scienza e della Tecnica website
Corso Venezia 55
nearest subway stations
9AM - 6PM [Saturday and Sunday -6:30PM]
• closed Monday

entrance free

tel. 02 88463280
Museo della Scienza e della Tecnologia
This is the most complete and interesting science and technology museum in the whole country, with a remarkable collection of models which reconstruct technical projects developed by Leonardo da Vinci, and an excellent selection of vintage automobiles, trains, airplanes and even old ships. An Italian submarine (real!) is their most recente acquisition. The museum also has various educational sections, on technologies employed in the past and up to the electronic age. The setting - a huge Renaissance monastery; quite unusual for such an institution - adds to the appeal.

Via San Vittore 21
nearest subway stations
9:30AM - 4:50PM [Saturday and Sunday through 6:30]
• closed Monday but not on Sundays & public holidays

entrance charge

tel. 02 48010040
More science museums
A minor scientific museum is the Civico Museo Navale Didattico (same building and same opening times as the Museo della Scienza e della Tecnica; entrance free; 02 8010040). Besides a series of real boats, anchors and figureheads of the Ugo Mursia collection, it exhibits over 3,000 ship and boat models (for the most part antique ones) that delight both sea lovers and modelfans.

The activities of the Planetario Hoepli (Corso Venezia 57, inside the Giardini Pubblici not far from the Natural History Museum; 02 2895785) are certainly interesting from a scientific standpoint. The planetarium was built in 1930 by architect Piero Portaluppi, who was commissioned by the Milanese publisher Ulrico Hoepli. It is a private foundation which operates in close cooperation with the City Council.

You will find information on the Acquario (Aquarium) on the printed guidebook (page 182).


All rights reserved
copyright © 1996-2003
Monica Levy, Roberto Peretta
copyright © 1996, 2002
Ulrico Hoepli SpA, Milano

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what you find pp 3-48
what you find pp 49-96
what you find pp 97-144
what you find pp 145-212
Ambrosiana, Poldi Pezzoli, Bagatti Valsecchi Castello, Villa Reale, Palazzo Reale Pinacoteca di Brera Museo Teatrale alla Scala Museo del Duomo, Museo di Sant'Ambrogio Section not available on the net
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