The Turin Museum of Natural History was established in 1978 to house the natural history collections of the University of Turin and other collections of natural history, originated from specific research campaigns and donations. It is located at 36 Via Giolitti, Turin, in a 17th-century building which used to be the hospital of San Giovanni Battista.
The museum has departments (sezioni) of zoology, entomology, botany, minerals, geology and paleontology. It also has a specialist library and an exhibition centre.
The MRSN – Regional Museum of Natural Sciences of Turin, currently closed for restoration, is an area of Piedmont Region. Central element of the museum are the scientific sections. The natural history collections, formed over more than two hundred and fifty, are preserved, fostered and valorised in order to promote the discovery, knowledge and protection of nature in all its aspects. The tour unfolds in the building already Ospedale San Giovanni Battista, built in the late seventeenth century by Amedeo di Castellamonte and completed by other famous architects and home to the museum since its establishment in 1978. More than two centuries since the birth of Charles Darwin, in 2013 was inaugurated “The spectacle of nature. Stories of science and worlds to be preserved”, permanent exhibition which is spread over an area of about 2,000 square meters, divided into three macro -aree. The exhibition, through rare museum exhibits, interactive exhibits and scenic reconstructions of environments, provides the keys to understanding the natural world telling, at the same time, the museum work: a biodiversity database, a mine of useful information to study the nature and contribute to safeguarding the environment. Designed by architect Andrea Bruno as the hold of a cargo ship from the nineteenth century, called the Arca room recalls the biblical one, welcomes, recovered to their original splendor, the finds of precious scientific collections started in 1700 and entrusted with a convention, the Piedmont Region in the eighties. The Historical Museum of Zoology of the University of Turin originated in 1739. In the early years of the nineteenth century became a real scientific institution and a major center for research and teaching university. Among the many people who contributed to its development include naturalists and zoologists Filippo De Filippi (1814-1867) and Michele Lessona (1823-1894) who spread in Italy Darwin’s theory. Exposed animals, the result of exchanges, purchases, travel, as well as those from the royal zoos, have great historical importance, as they are connected to the dynastic events and Piedmont policies.