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Museo di Scienze Planetarie della Provincia di Prato [Museum of Planetary Sciences of the Province of Prato]

The idea of instituting a museum that would promote scientific culture on a provincial level was born in the late 1990s, and took on concrete form through the collaboration of the nascent Province of Prato and the Geophysics Institute of Tuscany. In 1999, the province came into possession of the Cardini Collection, one of the major Italian collections of meteorites, tektites and impactites, consisting of some 130 samples, which was joined by a handsome collection of some 1500 mineral samples. The two collections are still growing through targeted purchases and scientific activities, of which we cite the expedition to the Libyan desert in 2001, co-financed by the Province itself, the University of Florence, and the Geophysics Institute of Tuscany.

Its most precious pieces include an impressive metallic meteorite weighing some 272 kg (Nantan) and a sample of brazilianite, considered by experts to be the finest specimen of this species in the world.

Inaugurated on March 19, 2005, the exposition is housed on the premises of the old fire brigade station, restored for the occasion. The museum has already published a web site exhibiting part of the collections in an on-line catalogue, and is characterised by an advanced use of multimedia technologies, which aim to involve the visitor interactively, at the same time enlarging the public it addresses.


Texts by Gabriele Pratesi

English translation by Victor Beard

Last update 25/gen/2008