cod. 1004978

Academic year 2020/21
2° year of course - First semester
- Davide PERSICO
Academic discipline
Paleontologia e paleoecologia (GEO/01)
A scelta dello studente
Type of training activity
Student's choice
60 hours
of face-to-face activities
6 credits
course unit

Learning objectives

The course aims to provide the basic principles of Museology, with particular reference to the preparations of the finds in relation to their nature, giving to the student a suitable preparation for the figure of the curator, the didactic educator or the museum Director.


Basic knowledge of Biology, Zoology and Geology.

Course unit content

Introduction to Museology, Preparation, Jurisdiction and Museum

Full programme

LESSON 1 - Museum finds and their cataloging. Wunderkammern, Wonderland Room or Cabinet of Curiosity: The Birth of Naturalistic Museums. Aesthetic, scientific and commercial aspects of collecting activity; Study collections and guest collections. Origin and historical evolution of museum collections and museum concept. The birth of the great national nature museums: the British Museum and the Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle. Dissemination of natural museums in various countries. Nature explorations and birth of museum collections. Some examples of explorers and explorations. Geographic companies and shipments for museum collecting purposes. Nature collections and their importance for the origin of museums: some examples in Europe and the United States. Museum-like institutions: botanical gardens and marine biology stations; Their historical origins and evolution.

LESSON 2 - The concept of naturalistic collection. Types and issues related to collections of animals, fossils, plants. Purpose of a museum: conservation, teaching and research. Fixed and temporary exhibitions. Extension and illustration of the material according to the type of audience. The exhibition path. Exposure strategies. Evaluation of the type of target audience, central and secondary topics. Labels, captions, illustrated panels, images, three-dimensional scale models and natural dimensions, dioramas. Central objects and peripheral objects.

LESSON 3 - General introduction to the collection, preparation and conservation of natural resources. General concepts on the collection of naturalistic finds. Prepare a naturalistic excursion to collect or sample specimens. Materials and methods of collection. Campaign books, georeferencing and the use of modern technologies in naturalistic documentation.

LESSON 4 - Collection, preparation and conservation of natural resources: Arthropods. General concepts on the collection of arthropods of the earth through the description and use of instruments such as aspirator, butterfly screen, scaffolding screen, entomological umbrellas and light traps for nightclubs. Arrangement of a fall trap for small animals. Drying of dried specimens. General concepts on the collection of aquatic invertebrates. A screen for aquatic macroinvertebrate is shown, showing its structure and mode of operation. Dredges and drafts for collections on the bottom. Fish trap: structure and mechanism of operation. Pins and body parts of the Insects that could be pushed. Using pins in preparation for specimens to keep paws, wings and antennas in place. The diversity of Insects in relation to the different methods of preparation. How to prepare insects in relation to the size and consistency of the exoskeleton. Prepare for insect larvae preparation. Enemies of entomological collections: Piralid and Tineid lepidoptera, Dermestid beetles. Precautions and Countermeasures. How to keep in small and delicate insect liquid. Arannid Liquid Preservation and Introduction to General Problems Related to Liquid Preservation. Entomological cassettes, butterfly boxes, stencils, transparent special strips of paper, entomologic pins, stickers for sticking insects. Labeling of finds. The pregnant data to be labeled.

LESSON 5 - Collection, preparation and conservation of natural resources: the main groups of Invertebrate Non-Arthropods. General considerations on how to keep zoological specimens in liquid form. Liquids used and dosages. Advantages and disadvantages of liquid storage. Puntualization on the categories of animals that best lend themselves to being kept in liquid. Notes on preparation and storage both in dry and liquid Cnidari, and Echinoderms. Arranging a malacological collection. The "bladderworms". Fleeing, color loss and fractures in the shells in the collection for the internal tensions of the various chemical components the shell. The importance of well-insulated showrooms.

LESSON 6 - Collection, preparation and conservation of natural materials: Fish, Amphibians, Reptiles, Birds and Mammals. Main problems in the preservation of fish and fish. Most frequently used liquids and best dosages. Difficulties in the preparation and preservation of Amphibians. Preparation of museum models in synthetic resins. Main Concepts for Dry Preparation of Mammals, Reptiles and Birds. Preliminary measures and measurements. Problems in filling and emptying specimens. Problems at the ends of the paws, in the tail and in the head. Exposed specimens. Problems in filling the skins. Scaffoldings with metallic wires. Use of pre-assembled artificial bodies. Problems in plumage nesting (for Birds). Preparation of current skeleton vertebrates. Scarcity problems. Boiling. Use of hydrogen peroxide. Frame Skeletons. Drying any ligaments and using appropriate scaffolding. Problems inherent in the size of the skeleton. Scarcity of small vertebrates by necrophagic insects.

LESSON 7 - Collection, preparation and preservation of natural resources: fossils and minerals. Exploring the fossilization processes. Problems of fossil extraction from the matrix. Mechanical and chemical strategies. Problems in the management of compact rock slabs with crushed fossils. Imprint and counterprint. Cataloging fossils, minerals, rocks, meteorites. Storage.

LESSON 8 - Cataloging zoological material according to the current guidelines of the Emilia-Romagna Region. Catalogs of zoological natural goods. The cards originally elaborated by the Museum of Natural History of Parma. Short note to C. Bellavere's publication (1984) "Zoological filing guide". A brief nod to the central institutes of the Ministry for Cultural and Environmental Heritage, with particular reference to the Central Institute for Catalog and Documentation (ICCD). The catalogs developed by the ICCD and the "Samira" operating program adopted by the Emilia - Romagna region. Some tabs are illustrated and discussed.

LESSON 9 - Conservation issues in the current world. Animal dimensions, ecological requirements, evolutionary specializations, anthropic activity and possible causes of extinction. Attempts to limit the trade in endangered species. The Washington Convention and CITES. Organization of CITES and Appendices of CITES. CITES Plant Animal and Plant Committee: The importance of nomenclature aspects also in the compilation of CITES appendices The application of CITES directives to the European Union with particular reference to Italy. Looking at the affairs of Italy as a member of CITES. Difficulties in conservation management of large Vertebrate species in Italy. Inadvertent inputs of alien elements into certain ecological contexts and involuntary transport of animals to human follow up, with possible consequences on the involved ecosystems (some examples from recent Italian history, with exaggerating cases of Nutria and Trachemys; General taken from the recent global history, with the case of Australian marsupials).

LESSON 10 - Example of museum setup: the Museo Paleoantropologico del Po. Evolution of a museum over time, attainment of the minimal parameters for museum recognition, museum management and staff, exhibition design, preparatory and conservation work of the finds, Research, study and exhibition.


Curzio Cipriani, 2006. Appunti di museologia naturalistic. Firenze University Press.

Matteo Merzagora e Paolo Rodari, 2007. La scienza in mostra. Bruno Mondadori

Keri Smith, 2008. Come diventare un esploratore del mondo.Corraini Edizioni.

Clipboard provided by the teacher in PDF format by sharing on Google Drive

Teaching methods

Lectures in the classroom and in the museum

Assessment methods and criteria

The examination consists of oral questions aimed at examining the basic knowledge of the discipline, the taxidermic methodologies for the preparation of the finds, the cataloging and preservation, the structure of a museum and its functioning.

Other information

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