natural History Museum
The Natural History Museum of Venice has its roots in one of the most important Venetian museum institutions.
The building itself and the nineteenth- century naturalistic collections owned by the municipality were in fact part of the Civic Museum and Correr Collection, in turn derived from the private collection of the Venetian patrician Teodoro Correr . This, organized in "three rooms and about twenty rooms" in his house, between San Zandegolà and Fontego dei Turchi, was composed of countless "manuscripts, prints, paintings, books, branches, woods, silver, ivories, seals, conj, weapons, antiquities, objects of natural history and numismatics ".
All these materials had been collected by Correr during his life and made accessible to scholars and writers whom he himself guided, two days a week. On his death in 1830, he left the collections with the Ca 'Correr building and substantial economic resources to the Municipality of Venice, with the precise clause of making it a civic museum open to the public, which happened in 1836, and of keep them and even increase them further.
Thus was born the Civic Museum and Correr Collection , which soon grew both through gifts and bequests from nobles and wealthy Venetians and through purchases financed by Correr himself. It is in this phase that the increase of the naturalistic collections, previously rather limited, begins. In addition to small extemporaneous gifts, there are also the important and voluminous collections of N. Contarini (1849), G. Miani (1862), AP Ninni (a first batch in 1876, other material in later periods), G. Zanardini (around 1878) ) and GB Spinelli (1880). Soon more spaces are needed, so the Municipality buys and restores the Fontego dei Turchi where almost all the materials are transferred, except for the naturalistic finds that remain on display at the Correr house.
In 1920 the fame and importance of the Civic Museum were such, and the materials so conspicuous, that it was decided to move it to Piazza San Marco, to the Royal Palace and part of the Procuratie Nuove. Thus there is the definitive separation of the historical-artistic collections from the naturalistic and ethnographic ones; in fact, when the Fontego dei Turchi remains free, the engineer Giorgio Silvio Coen proposes to transfer the instituting Museum of Natural History which would have brought together the various scientific collections existing in Venice , and in particular those of the Correr Civic Museum, the Veneto Institute of Sciences, Letters and Arts, the private collection of Count Alessandro Pericle Ninni, and other minor ones. Since 1923 the building has therefore been the seat of the Natural History Museum of Venice which, to date, houses a scientific collection of about two million objects.