Museums

The museums of Earth Sciences

There are three historical museums dedicated respectively to the Geology, Mineralogy and Paleontology at the Department of Earth Sciences of Sapienza University of Rome. The Mineralogy Museum was established in 1804 and is the oldest university museum in Rome. The other two were established later:  the Museum of Geology in 1864 and the Museum of Paleontology in 1928. The three museums are at the moment independent from each other. The Museums of Geology, Mineralogy and Paleontology of the "Sapienza" University of Rome have been serving the community and research since 1804. The new Museum of Earth Sciences, created by the merger of these museums, would be the most important Italian collection in the field of Earth Sciences for the number of items on display and conserved. The three museums own prestigious collections, unique both in Italy and worldwide, which represent the most important and comprehensive collection of Earth Sciences objects in Italy.

The Geology Museum was founded in 1873 by Giuseppe Ponzi with his collection and specimens from the seventeenth century Kircher Museum as well. It  houses some nineteenth-century collections of ancient marbles including the prestigious collection by Thomas Belli which includes about 550 tiles, cut from pieces of ornamental stones, that came to light during the excavations of ancient Rome. In the exhibition hall, rocks, boards, plaster and other interactive tools and multimedia stations treat different topics including: the evolution of the Earth, the geological hazards and resources resulting from its dynamics, origin and the deformation of the rocks, the recording time in geology.

The Mineralogy Museum is the oldest Science Museum of the University "La Sapienza" being instituted by Pope Pius VII, on 13th November, 1804. It was set up in less than two years and opened on the 27th October, 1806. The first director was Father Carlo Giuseppe Gismondi. In 206 years, 13 directors followed one another including Johann Strüver, called to Rome in 1873 by Quintino Sella. Federico Millosevich supervised the transfer of the Museum to its present location. Result of sustained conservation efforts, and new acquisitions is a collection of 33,000 specimens of minerals and some special collections: Latium minerals, meteorites, single crystals, natural and synthetic gems and the famous Dactylioteca: a collection of 388 rings donated by Pope Leo XII.

The Museum of Paleontology, is the newest of the three Museums of Earth Sciences. It was officially founded in 1928 when the Chair of Paleontology was established. The previous history is closely interwoven with that of the Museum of Geology, from which it was separated. Currently in this museum are preserved over 100,000 fossils found both in Italy and abroad. The museum is divided into two areas, one open to the public, and one laboratory for researchers. The exhibition area consists of two large halls, where over a thousand fossils of plants and animals both invertebrates and vertebrates are exposed.