The museum, which grew out of the Museum of Physics and Natural Sciences founded by Peter Leopold of Lorraine, is organized according to chronological and thematic criteria and houses the most important scientific instruments from the Medici (15th–18th centuries) and Lorraine (18th–19th centuries) collections.
Different sections deal with themes such as astronomy, the measuring of time and space, geography and cartography, meteorology, mechanics, optics, electricity, magnetism, chemistry and pharmacy.
Of particular interest are the Renaissance mathematical and astronomical instruments and the section on Galileo, which features frescoes and bas-reliefs depicting the discoveries and instruments of the great scientist. A meridian has recently been traced out on the paving in front of the ancient Palazzo dei Castellani; this line marks real local time for the whole year, and also acts as a calendar.
The museum offers a rich program of educational activities, guided tours and workshops in Italian for children and families.
Piazza dei Giudici, 1, 50122 Firenze FI, Italia
Visitors with motor disabilities can access the museum from the entrance at Lungarno Anna Maria Luisa de’ Medici n. 2 (ask the operator through the intercom). Inside, the museum is fully accessible thanks to a stair lift, which also holds motorized wheelchairs. A manual wheelchair is provided by the museum upon request. Accessible toilets are available on each floor.
People with visual impairment can experience a tactile route by touching original instruments and some copies in order to understand their functioning and significance in the development of the historical sciences. This service, upon request, is free and held in Italian and English. Guides in both braille and enlarged characters for the visually impaired are available upon request, and have to be returned at the ticket office at the end of the tour.