The Museo Enrico Caffi’s project to valorize historical scientific instruments began in 1998, when the first inventory of the material kept in the museum was prepared by Laura Serra, author of the Catalogue of the Instruments in the Physics Cabinet of the Liceo Sarpi, Bergamo.
The study and cataloging of these instruments has increased public awareness of the entire collection of the Physics Cabinets of the Collegio Mariano and the Liceo Sarpi, highlighting their abundance.
The presence in Bergamo since the 18th century of schools equipped with teaching laboratories, which acquired new instruments in the following centuries, is a clear indication of the importance in Bergamo’s scientific cultural development of teaching the experimental sciences.
The Enrico Caffi Museum, a scientific institution involved in the dissemination and teaching of science, began in 2014 to develop its collection so as to bring to light this important evidence regarding the history of scientific culture – and science teaching in particular – under the title “Nineteenth Century Science Teaching as a Foundation of Scientific Culture”.
Implementation of the project has been funded by Lovato Electric SpA, a company that has been designing and manufacturing electrical devices since 1922 and is keenly aware of the importance of the instruments in the collection, which are fundamental for understanding the development of civil and industrial electrical devices.

Project phases

The project has involved the following steps:

  • instrument catalogue curated by Laura Serra;
  • restoration of several particularly significant instruments (conducted by: Paolo Brenni and Anna Giatti; Andrea and Lucia Dori);
  • cleaning and minor restoration work on most of the devices, which are still intact and in good condition. The skilled assistance of Giorgio Mirandola was invaluable for the first public presentations of certain instruments in the collection. Work on the remaining pieces was conducted thanks to the collaboration of Giovanni Valle, Luciana Maver and the museum staff;
  • photographing the devices;
  • the permanent display “Amazement, fascination – and explanation. Science teaching in Bergamo’s schools in the 19th century”, technical coordination by Museum Director Marco Valle, scientific coordination by Laura Serra, produced by the museum staff;
  • creation of the Website