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. 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.

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.

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. 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.

Opening Hours and Entry Fee

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.)

For more information visit the Museo Galileo website