The Museo Galileo - Institute and Museum of the History of Science occupies, since its foundation in 1930, the historic Palazzo Castellani , an imposing 11th century building. Its extraordinary collections, among the most important in the world, include ancient scientific instruments collected over the course of about four centuries by the Medici and the Lorraine . Among the more than a thousand objects on permanent display, all of Galileo's original instruments that have come down to us are preserved, including the only two existing telescopes. Large screens arranged along the museum route illustrate the structure and functioning of the most important scientific instruments and experimental equipment on display by means of suggestive animations.
The Didactic Section offers a wide range of diversified educational programs, including guided tours and workshops, for schools and families. Finally, a well-stocked bookshop offers a vast selection of Italian and foreign publications, as well as scientific games and gadgets. The Galileo Museum is also a documentation and research institute in the field of the history of science and technology , which makes the enormous resources of its library (over 150,000 volumes) available to scholars from all over the world. Its very rich website offers a number of resources for historical-scientific research entirely available in Italian and English, as well as indispensable teaching tools.
The Museo Galileo publishes specialized monographs and two magazines - Nuncius and Galilæana - with international circulation, and participates in important research projects in collaboration with prestigious international institutions, such as the Royal Academy of Sciences of Sweden, the Nobel Foundation, the institutes of the Max- Planck-Gesellschaft and Harvard University, to name but a few. The Galileo Museum also organizes conferences on scientific museology and the history of sciences and techniques and exhibitions on themes of the history of science and the relationships between science, technology and art.