After more than a decade, the Regional Museum of Natural Sciences reopens in Turin.

On Saturday, January 13, 2024, the Turin Regional Museum of Natural Sciences, one of the most beloved museums for Piedmontese people, reopens after more than a decade of closure.

After more than a decade of closure due to the work necessitated by a fire in August 2013 that damaged part of the building, and after numerous infrastructural, safety and adaptation works, the Turin Regional Museum of Natural Sciences will reopen on Saturday, January 13, 2024.

It is one of the most beloved museums for the people of Piedmont. Despite ten years of closure and as evidence of the affection that still binds the public to the memory of their experiences inside it, the museum was in fact among the ’museums of the heart’ mentioned in a survey carried out in the spring of 2022 to more than 5 thousand Piedmontese by the Abbonamento Musei Association. It enjoys a national and international reputation for the value of its collections, which date back to the first half of the nineteenth century, for the restoration of which, including upgrading security systems and new furniture, the Piedmont Region has invested more than 8.3 million euros, much of which will be spent starting in 2020. Of these, 2.3 million used for the upgrading of facilities and agibility between 2015 and 2017, and 2 million for plant and building works required for the issuance of the certificate of agibility for the premises of the Ark, the Historic Museum of Zoology, the South Channel Crossing ground floor and the “Permanent Paleontology Exhibition” premises.

The Museum, which is dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of naturalistic artifacts as well as to the dissemination of natural history collections coming partly from the University of Turin and partly acquired by the museum itself, is accessed through the main door at 15 Via Accademia Albertina. The entrance is the historic one, which opened in 1936 when the then Museum of Natural History, organized on several floors in Palazzo Carignano, was moved inside the San Giovanni Hospital building to make way for the Museum of the Risorgimento.

“When we took office, the Regional Museum was closed, the work was blocked, there were no resources to complete it, and this was an open wound for Turin and Piedmont for years,” said Regional President Alberto Cirio and Councillors for Culture Vittoria Poggio and Heritage Andrea Tronzano. “We have done a great job to unblock this work and we have succeeded. The construction site has restarted, we have identified the resources to finance the work, and today we are finally reopening one of the places most loved by the people of Piedmont. We are proud of the results; 2024 is the year of the rebirth of the museum, which is once again usable for citizens, tourists, schools and associations.”

Among the museum’s new features are two videomappings and a totem equipped with generative artificial intelligence. In fact, the new exhibition route has been enriched with multimedia installations and immersive experiences. One interactive video mapping is projected on a loop, daily, on a 15x6-meter giant screen at the back of the Ark of Explorations room. The other, however, directly on the body of theelephant Fritz (the internal organs of the Museum icon appear projected, one after the other). The totem, inside which is the avatar of Sir Alfred Russel Wallace, the father of biogeography with whom the visitor can converse, will be placed in the historical part of the Regional Museum of Natural Sciences.

The renovated exhibition itinerary is spread over three main areas: Historical Museum of Zoology, Ark of Explorations and Hall of Wonders.

The first section houses ’naturalized’ specimens and skeletons, offering the public an insight into the history of the preserved zoological collections. The Museum of Zoology allows visitors to explore the fauna of the five continents and to see many ’naturalized’ specimens that are more than two hundred years old. They are part of the collections of the University of Turin, left on loan for use to the Piedmont Region. Hundreds of specimens, the result of research and travels in the footsteps of Turin’s most important zoologists who, succeeded to the Museum’s Direction, enriched the collections and trained generations of distinguished scholars. First of all, Franco Andrea Bonelli who, in the early nineteenth century traveled around Europe to purchase animal skins for display: one of the specimens is a hippopotamus from the Cape of Good Hope that he bought in London in 1823.

At the center of the Museum of Zoology is theelephant Fritz, a gift from the Viceroy of Egypt to the Savoy in 1827, raised for years in the menagerie of the Palazzina di Caccia di Stupinigi. The real-skin specimen of the animal is flanked by its skeleton, prepared separately as per custom.

The exhibits, placed in the large restored historical cabinets, some of which are made of solid worked walnut, are divided geographically and tell the story of the fauna of different continents. From Oceania where a number of marsupials such as the wombat and koala are presented, to New Guinea which features numerous representatives of ’birds of paradise.’ The journey continues from South America to North America with numerous species of penguins, the Andes condor, sloth, jaguar, and Mississippi alligator.

Italian regions are also represented. For example, wildlife from the Alps is present with marmot, ermine, chamois, roe deer, woodpecker, owl, hare, badger, porcupine, and more. One area has been designated to house historical cabinets recently moved from Palazzo Carignano and restored to house a very significant collection: skeletons from the Museum of Comparative Anatomy of the University of Turin.

The second section is dedicated to naturalistic travels that have contributed to the enrichment of the collections over time. Visible in the new exhibition itinerary is the Ark, formerly designed by architect Andrea Bruno in the late 1990s and inaugurated in 2000. The exhibition structure evoking a ship generated the cue to develop the theme of travel, particularly exploratory travel, which, over the decades, has led to the enrichment of the Turin museum’s collections. At the center of this section stands the skeleton of a baleen whale stranded in Bordighera in the mid-19th century.

In the Hall of Wonders, on the other hand, visitors can admire a selection of the wealth and variety of artifacts owned by both the University and the Piedmont Region. From the large, such as the two models of mastodon and rhinoceros, to the small, such as some insects that are an expression of an enormous variety of forms, declined through an exhibition of the diversity of beetles and lepidopterans. In addition, the leaf becomes the protagonist of an infinite variety of lines as well as crystals, with the colors and shapes of rhodochrosite, azurite, eblaite, and hematoid quartz up to some jewels in the field of mineralogical collecting from the val d’Ala and the mines of Brosso and Traversella.

To mark its reopening, the Regional Museum of Natural Sciences is hosting Doors Open to Science, a cultural program organized by the Reading Circle Foundation and Piedmont Region, until Feb. 2, 2024. Talks on science and art, curated by Luca Beatrice, will be held on January 19 and 26 and February 2.

On the occasion of the new public opening, the museum will have free admission from Jan. 13 to Feb. 2, 2024. Online reservation. For info you can visit

Photo by Simone Benso.

After more than a decade, the Regional Museum of Natural Sciences reopens in Turin.
After more than a decade, the Regional Museum of Natural Sciences reopens in Turin.

Warning: the translation into English of the original Italian article was created using automatic tools. We undertake to review all articles, but we do not guarantee the total absence of inaccuracies in the translation due to the program. You can find the original by clicking on the ITA button. If you find any mistake,please contact us.