The Museum of Zoology is one of the oldest Roman science museums.
Its origin dates back to the early nineteenth century, with the zoological collections of the Archiginnasio Pontificio, linked to the Chair of Natural History and Mineralogy, established in 1804 by Pius VII.
In 1853, Pius IX made the Museum of Zoology an autonomous entity, with its own director and its own headquarters in the eighteenth-century Palazzo della Sapienza . It consisted of three large halls, with zoological materials displayed in showcases, in a more artistic than scientific way, following the guiding idea of the "cabinet of curiosities" of the previous century.
Towards the end of the century, during the direction of Antonio Carruccio, a clear cultural project was carried out, which produced the enrichment of the collections, research on them, teaching, the relationship with the territory and with associations.
His successor, Federico Raffaele, founded the real Institute of Zoology, initially in Palazzo Carpegna, later in the Viale Università building inaugurated in 1971, under the direction of Pasquale Pasquini.
The museological collections , following an agreement stipulated in 1932 between the University and the Municipality of Rome, went to constitute the Civic Museum of Zoology at the Zoological Garden.
Some collections, mostly for educational use, remained in the Institute of Zoology, where important zoological collections gathered during the wildlife research programs, in Italy and in various countries of other continents, conducted by the Institute's researchers were then accumulated.
In 1977 the National Institute of Entomology was dissolved and its patrimony and the magazine Fragmenta entomologica passed to the University's Institute of Zoology, which in 1979 established its own Museum section.
Since 1984 the Institute of Zoology, together with the institutes of Comparative Anatomy and Anthropology, established the Department of Animal and Human Biology, currently the Charles Darwin Department of Biology and Biotechnology.