The rebirth of the Museum

In 1971 the Lyncean Academy proposed the establishment of the “National Museum of Natural History” indicating Florence as the site since the Academy recognized the absolute pre-eminence of the naturalistic collections of our Museum within the Italian museum world.

In 1984 the University of Florence decided on the reunification of scientific collections and established the “Museum of Natural History of the University of Florence”. Curzio Cipriani was the museum director until 2003 and those 20 years saw the revival of the Museum, an expansion of the collections and a greater attention to teaching, not only for university students but also for those of elementary and high schools.

The project for an Italian National Museum took form at the end of the 1980s and the University of Florence, the owner of the collections, stated that it would be honoured to make its collections (anthropological and ethnographic, botanical, geo-palaeontological, mineralogical and zoological) available to the proposed institution. The Municipality of Florence indicated the zone of the former slaughterhouses (ex-Macelli area) as the site of the new museum and the Ministry of University Education set aside funds for the project. Unfortunately, despite the good prospects, the project was never realized. Over the next decade, the strong development of the University of Florence saw the creation of the scientific complex at Sesto Fiorentino and that of the Economics and Law Departments in the Novoli district. Hence various ideas were presented for the construction of new premises for the Museum which would have allowed the reunification of part of its collections. Unfortunately, these projects never came to fruition. At the end of Cipriano’s directorship, the University, in accordance with the new Code of Cultural and Landscape Heritage, revised the regulations of the Museum, which up to then had been managed as a federation with six sections each with its own funding and personnel. Giovanni Pratesi became the new president of the Museum while the museum administration was temporarily entrusted to some University managers. During Pratesi’s two terms, the Museum experienced a extraordinary revival and the number of visitors grew exponentially. The creation of the Educational Services resulted in an expansion of the educational programs for schools of all levels and for the general public.


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