Monday, December 16, 2013

Its a Memorial Science and History Museum of The Galileo, Father of Modern Science.

The Istituto e Museo di Storia della Scienza in Florence is one of the foremost international institutions in the history of science. An important museum housing unique historical collections of scientific instruments is joined together a renowned research institute.

Founded in 1927, the Museum is heir to a five century-long tradition of scientific collecting, which has its origins in the central importance assigned to scientists and scientific instruments by the Medici and Lorraine families. The Institute has been continuously involved in research into topics connected with the history of science and technology as well as the history of scientific instruments, collections and museums. In the last twenty years it has also published a biannual journal on the History of Science, Nuncius. Annali di Storia della Scienza.

Rev: "It is an incredible "history" of science. The maps are extremely alluring. There is one map in particular that will surely stun you. It is the map of the known world, back when it was flat and considered to be one piece of earth (not the continents as we now know). Interactivity and kid friendly (with video demonstrations along the way). I really enjoyed the astrolab collections."
The Institute publishes also Galilaeana, a journal entirely devoted to Galileo studies, and numerous specialized publications. It has organized a number of international workshops and conferences, promoted innovative research, held specialized courses for young researchers and conceived and produced an outstanding series of exhibitions, presented in the most important cities in the world. In the Spring of 2010, the renovated Istituto e Museo di Storia della Scienza will re-open under the name of Museo Galileo. Istituto di Storia della Scienza. This name has been chosen not only for the Tuscan scientist’s central role in founding modern science but also because the Florentine institution is home to Galileo’s only original instruments that have survived.

Rev: "Took the train down from Venice, and this museum was the highlight. Small museum, compared with the Uffuzi next door. One can only take looking at paintings for so long, even my wife enjoyed this museum. A collection of antique bicycles in the lower level to Galileo's telescopes (and fingers) in the upper levels, brings one to understand the brilliant minds or the Renaissance. Unbelievably complex devices that one would have a hard time making, even today. The are some hands on devices to demonstrate various physics principles. We loved it."
The new permanent exhibition, starting from a radical transformation of the premises now fully equipped with the most advanced facilities, will be characterized by the use of information technology that will allow visitors an in-depth exploration of the museum’s treasures. Information system resources will be available to the public on dedicated stations as well as on portable audio-visual devices especially designed for this purpose. This final intervention will complete the renovation works launched in the early 1990s and designed to transform the Florentine Institution into an advanced research centre which promotes publications, journals and exhibitions, is equipped with a specialized library rich in antique and rare books, modern editions and digital resources, a multimedia department devoted to the exploitation of the museum collections, as well as an iconographic archive and a restoration workshop. Extensive educational activities are also offered.

Rev: "As a lover of all things pertaining to navigation, maps, globes and inventions, this museum was GREAT! It was a pleasant departure from the art museums (great as they are), focusing on Galileo's and Florence's prominence as the center for invention and exploration during and after Galileo's time and adeptly covering the history of science, in general. Don't miss it!"
Upon completion of the new permanent exhibition, all museum communication tools will be updated, including catalogues, short guides, DVD and online multimedia catalogues. Innovative educational programs will also be developed. The new exhibition will highlight the outstanding phenomenon of scientific collecting by the Medici and Lorraine families. The Medicean collection will be displayed on the first floor. Special sections will be devoted to astronomy, cartography and globes, nautical, military and surveying instruments, as well as to the instruments of Galileo, the Galilean school and the Accademia del Cimento.

Rev: "A great collection of original scientific instruments, covering a wide range of interests but particularly for those interested in physics, astronomy and navigation. A lot to see but made more accessible through some very good video displays that explain how specific exhibits were used. A small hands-on section at the end gives kids the chance to try out some of concepts. Much better value-for-money than the Leonardo Da Vinci museum which is very hands-on but small. I would recommend the Museo Galileo for older students and for those interested in the history of physics, and the LDV for younger children."
The second floor will house the Lorraine collection, which is organized in sections dealing with the theatre of science, the meteorological-astronomical observatory, didactic instruments and measuring devices as well as with the most important scientists and instrument makers. This ambitious project also includes a large restoration campaign. In particular, several important pieces will be brought back to their original splendour. Among these are the spectacular armillary sphere created by Antonio Santucci for Ferdinand I de’ Medici between 1588 and 1593 and the four large globes made at the end of the 17th century by Vincenzo Coronelli, who was cartographer and cosmographer for the Republic of Venice.

Rev: "This is a great museum that is fairly cheap €9 for an adult it features lots of tools and contraptions used by scientific explorers and scientists from the 15 the century on. Certainly worth checking out if you have an interest in science or science history."
Rev: "Most visitors to Florence will have gone for the art, architecture and history. This museum provides a fine contrast to all the murals, altarpieces and churches and in a curious way seems to enhance the total Florence experience. The collection is astonishing, covering the development of intruments to explore time, space, temperature, astronomy, physics and medicine. What makes any visit even better is the excellent lay-out, graphics and demonstrations. The instruments are often works of art in themselves. This is a gem of a place that inform and entertains in equal measure. On the practical front, there are large secure lockers to leave coats, bags and brollies, and there are lots of super clean loos. There are also a number of reductions available on the ticket price so it is worth checking when you go in."
Rev: "The Galellio Museum in Florence is small, but interesting and definitely worth a visit.  It displays a huge, well curated collection of scientific implements from the Medici era onwards. There's Galellio's devices and globes but also much more! The collection is really well presented in a way that helps visitors to understand the role of Florence in renaissance science and discovery, and the progression of science and knowledge over several centuries of human history. If you've got a few spare hours in Florence or are just looking for a break from 'Madonna-con-bambino' overload give the Galellio Museum a go!"
The museum is open from 9.30am-6.00pm every day but Tuesday when it is only open from 9.30am-1pm.  The museum is closed during holidays such as 1 and 6 January, Easter, 1 May, 24 June 15 August, 1 November, 8,25 and 26 December.

Entry fee is  € 8,00 for adults, € 5,00 (7-18 yrs. and >65 yrs.), € 5,00 (groups > 15 people), € 4,00 (school groups 7-15 yrs.), € 20,00 for Family ticket (2 adults, 2 children under 18 yrs.) and free (children 0-6 yrs.)

Rev: "I was fortunate to be on a private tour of the museum which allowed me to see the wonderful historic books that they have. But the museum itself is well worth a visit. It is beautifully set out with plenty of space to stand and admire the artefacts ... which themselves are works of art. It is definitely worth couple of hours to browse and it made a welcome respite from all that baroque and black and white marble. I shall return for another walk around on my next visit to Firenze."
Rev: "For someone interested in the history of science, astronomy, or technology this is geek heaven. I'm an amateur astronomer so the opportunity to see Galileo's original telescopes was something I could not pass up. My only surprise on that particular item is how little emphasis it gets. It's just another display and I almost walked right by it! The telescopes on the second floor are examples of early refractors and reflectors, lots of wood, interesting altitude and azimuth controls, just fascinating and of course beautiful. There is a lot of historical electrical gear here too, plus chemical stuff, atmospheric science... you can almost feel the knowledge accumulating as you imagine the last 400 years of science, while the exhibits bring it home to you.

Entry price is now 9 Euros. I could not rent the video display unit that you carry around because I did not bring a picture ID with me to leave at the desk. They would not take a credit card as collateral. However the video animations on TV screens next to several of the displays were world class. I suspect they might be available on the DVD for sale in the book shop. (Excellent selection in the bookshop by the way, including many in English). During my visit I kept saying to myself how great it would be if some of the mechanical demonstration devices could be operated for the public's benefit, like the ones showing how balls accelerate down a hill and cover twice the distance each second as in the previous second. Well to my great surprise, as you leave just before you get to the bookstore there are two rooms filled with hands-on samples of many of these contraptions that you can operate yourself. Bring your high school physics class here and they will get it instantly! (Kind of expensive trip, I know...)

I bought a bunch of Galileo coffee mugs for friends, for E10 each, at the bookshop. I drink out of mine every morning and remember this place fondly. One warning - in small print on the bottom of the packaging for the mug it says "no dishwasher". Just warn your friends. Go and enjoy this place. In fact go twice, it's worth it. Free lockers to store your bags and stuff too."


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