Massive cleaning and restoration work

Maria Luisa Righini Bonelli was convinced that the Museum had to repair the damage caused by the flood and re-open its doors to the public as quickly as possible. Too long an interruption could have led to the permanent closure of the Museum. In the days following the flood, the damaged exhibits were hasty washed with water and solvents in the Piazza dei Giudici. However, the painstaking restoration work would continue for decades. The personnel of the Museum (Alberto Ulivelli, Andrea Rabbi, and Giampaolo Curioni) devoted themselves to this task together with various public institutions and private restorers. The last item to be disassembled and cleaned of its layers of river mud – in preparation for an exhibition held in 2007 – was an exemplar of Armstrong’s hydroelectric machine, although it would never be placed on permanent display again. It is not impossible that other instruments may still lie, covered in mud and forgotten, in the storerooms of the Museo Galileo waiting to be rediscovered.


Alberto Ulivelli struggling with a Volta hydrogen lamp, 1966

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Volta's hydrogen lamp (ca. 1790) after it had been cleaned

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An Armstrong hydroelectric machine (ca. 1845) before its restoration in 2007

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