GeMM, the first Geo-Mineralogical Museum of Politecnico di Torino, has been inaugurated

Rector Stefano Corgnati and DIATI Director Francesco Laio inaugurate the Museum

On June 5th, in the framework of World Environment Day, Politecnico inaugurated GeMM | Geo- Mineralogical Museum of Politecnico di Torino. It is the first example of a permanent exhibition within the University and one of the great historical university collections open to the public in Turin.

The museum is set-up in the Department of Environmental, Land and Infrastructure Engineering DIATI – recognised Department of Excellence on climate change by the Ministry of Education, University and Research. Over the years, the Department has recovered and preserved the collections and it offers a Master’s Degree programme in Georesources and Geoenergy Engineering with a track in “Sustainable Mining”.

The exhibition project, curated by Margherita Bongiovanni and Lorenzo Mariano Gallo, recounts almost 170 years of history of technology by displaying materials of great value that have marked the history of the university and the advancements of science. The collection started in 1859, when the Scuola di applicazione per gli Ingegneri was founded (then becoming Politecnico di Torino in 1906).

To this day Politecnico di Torino keeps over 8.000 units of minerals, meteorites, rocks with different lithotype classifications and tectonic and morphologic distinctive traits; models of mining art, mine technology and mineral treatment, as well as equipment used for land measurement of particular technical and scientific relevance.

Exhibition detail

Part of this heritage, the result of years of restoration and conservation work, is now on display. Visitors can admire over 600 units of minerals and rocks, almost 20 meteorite samples, as well as about 20 models and machines. These include the electromagnetic grading machine, designed by Quintino Sella in 1854 to separate iron ore, patented in 1855 and used in the Traversella mine (TO); and the first model of the drilling machine created by Sommeiller (1861), employed in the Frejus railway tunnel excavation.

The end of the Museum route focuses on current and future challenges faced by the scientific and technological research on raw materials and the role they play in the framework of energy and climate transition.

The Museum aims to promote its documentary, historical and scientific heritage of inestimable value to a broad audience, raising interest and curiosity towards the history of science and technology to understand the present and to imagine a more sustainable future.

With the inauguration of the GeMM Museum, we are paving the way for a line of communication of our Departments that we want to pursue in the coming years to promote the excellence of our University – said the Rector Stefano CorgnatiGeMM is also the first tangible example of how Politecnico di Torino can be opened up to the public by enhancing the valuable heritage we have collected and preserved over time and that helps us tell our story, experimentations and innovations.

We wanted to end the Museum itinerary with references to current and future challenges faced by the scientific and technological research on raw materials and the role they play in the framework of energy and climate transition – explained Francesco Laio, Head of DIATI - Thanks to multimedia installations, research activities with a particular focus on environmental sustainability aspects carried out within our Department have been highlighted.”

School classes, university students and people interested in these topics will be able to visit the Museum by appointment. Guided tours will be periodically scheduled.