History

Since the end of XVI century

Towards the end of the XVI century all over Europe were widespread the so-called Wunderkammern or Raritatkammern (“Chambers of wonders” o “Chambers of rarities”). Put togheter by kings, princes and lords fond of science, these collections included every kind of finding, without orders and without any standards but rarity and oddity.


1600-1700: fall and rise

About the half of the XVII century the Pisa’s Gallery went through a period of decadence: in 1672 cardinal Leopoldo of Medici commissioned to the Danish Niccolò Stenone the writing of a brand new inventory of the objects in the Gallery, also giving him the task to choose and take “a few curiosities for the Gallery starting in Florence”.


1800: independence and success

In 1814 the University of Pisa took an historical turn, renouncing to the encyclopaedical timeworn approach and choosing to officially divide in different branches a science grown way too big. To professor Gaetano Savi was appointed to the Botanic sector while professor Giorgio Santi was appointed to Zoology, Geology and Paleontology: therefore, the two of them were respectively put in charge to the Garden of Simples (the present Botanic Garden) and to the Museum, which became an autonomous administrative center. With this division, it was definitively closed the path on which the two institutions have walked together for more than two centuries.


The Museum nowadays: the Carthusian miracle

By the end of the ’70, after the Carthusian Monastery of Pisa had been abandoned by the monk, professor Ezio Tongiorgi worked towards trying to have the prestigious monumental complex entrusted in perpetual free use to the University, so that it could be used to host the Natural History Museum, of which Tongiorgi cured the set up and the transport and of which he was director from 1977 to 1985.