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Fondazione Scienza e Tecnica [Science and Technology Foundation]

The Foundation was instituted in 1987 by the Region of Tuscany, the Province and the Commune of Florence, at the initiative of the Board of the dell'Istituto Tecnico per Geometri "Gaetano Salvemini" ["Gaetano Salvemini" Technical Surveyors Institute], which had up till then safeguarded its important heritage. The Foundation has been awarded the status of Authority recognised by the Region of Tuscany and has initiated the procedure for obtaining recognition from the President of the Republic. It has received in comodatum a large part of the collections of the Istituto Tecnico Toscano [Tuscan Technical Institute], founded under the Lorraines. The Foundation was established for the purpose of conserving and promoting the heritage of the ancient Institute and, more generally, of disseminating scientific culture. Part of the collection is exhibited in the corridor on the ground floor.

The collection of technical-scientific instruments and machines (around 2,500 objects) comes almost entirely from the Cabinet of Physics of the Istituto Tecnico Toscano. Some of the objects come from the Cabinet of Chemistry, the Cabinet of Natural Science and the Cabinet of Mechanics. These consist of teaching apparatus for physics and instruments for measurement and research. The collection is made up for the most part of objects from the second half of the 19th century, but also contains instruments from the early 19th century and from the 18th. The latter were donated to the Institute in 1892 by the Pio Istituto dei Bardi [Devout Institute of the Bardi]. The most important period for the acquisitions occurred under the direction of Antonio Roiti (1870-88). The instruments were fabricated both by external manufacturers and by the personnel of the Institute’s workshops.

The naturalist collection is made up of specimens and models of Natural History, Zoology, Botany, Palaeontology, Mineralogy, and Geography. The wax models were made in the waxworks shop of the Florence Regio Museo di Fisica e Storia Naturale. Especially interesting are the representations of mushrooms, the oilcloths of Egisto Tortoli, the glass coelenterates of Blaska, the dried and liquid samples of various provenance. The collection also includes seventeenth-eighteenth century herbariums, examples of coleopters, lepidopters, and marine animals, as well as significant historical materials coming from the grand-ducal collections.

The commodities collection includes models of manufactured products and materials: examples of the working of wool, cotton, leather, straw, paper, ceramics, paints and products from early nineteenth-century Tuscan industries. It also includes semiprecious stones and drawings of machines coming from the Academy of Arts and Handwork.

In April 2002 the new Planetarium was inaugurated; it now engages in effective teaching and educational activity in astronomy. The Florence planetarium, originating from collaboration between the Science and Technology Foundation, the Institute and Museum of the History of Science and the Astrophysics Observatory of Arcetri, consists of apparatus equipped with systems of protection utilising computerised technologies.


Texts by Carlo Triarico

English translation by Catherine Frost

Last update 14/gen/2008