In 1992, the “Federico II” University of Naples’ four Natural History museums were merged into a single financially and administratively autonomous entity by Carlo Ciliberto, theUniversity’s Rector at the time.
Thus, the Royal Museum of Mineralogy, the Museums of Zoology, of Anthropology, and of Palaeontology were brought together to form the firstUniversity Museum Centre of Italy, further expanded in 2012 by the addition of the Museumof Physics.
Today, the University’s Centro Musei delle Scienze Naturali e Fisiche (the Museum Centre of Natural and Physical Sciences) houses more than 300,000 items collected in its various Museums from the late 18th century onwards. It is also endowed with prestigious exhibitionspaces totalling nearly 3500 square metres, located in buildings which are themselves of considerable historical, architectural and cultural interest, such as the Complesso Monumentale Del Salvatore and the neighbouring Complesso dei Santi Marcellino e Festo. The vast and varied Museum heritage with its many precious rare specimens and collections, often specificallyconnected to the City of Naples and its surrounding areas, is of enormous historical and scientific value, many of its exhibits linked to the research work of illustrious scholars of the“Federico II” University of Naples, itself.
During its first twenty-five years, the Museum Centre has engaged in many activities, going well beyond the responsibilities normally expected of a Museum - the conservation, studyand display of its specimens and artefacts. Indeed, it has made noteworthy efforts to carryout the so-called Third Mission currently required of a University Museum - to stimulate the widespread dissemination of scientific knowledge, the cultural value of history, and not least,the knowledge and awareness of its own collections and resources, with the aim of enhancingand positively guiding the development of its local area. This continuing commitment has been enacted through the engagement of all sectors of the public, in particular of local schools, also through the development and enhancement of services and activities geared towards making the most of the various Museums’ resources. Thus, the educational and public engagement programme activities organised by the Museum Centre, as promoted on its web-site (http://www.cmsnf.it), include cultural events such as conferences, exhibitions, lectures and seminars,as well as guided tours and hands on workshops. These activities are all organised with a view to facilitating and encouraging local cultural awareness among our citizens alongside an appreciation of the values of social responsibility, of inclusion and of life-long learning.
Maria Rosaria Ghiara
Director of the Museum Centre of Natural and Physical Sciences