Over the centuries, the oldest universities have amassed an extraordinary patrimony of material and immaterial cultural assets, which have been created or acquired for the purposes of research or teaching. Now on display in museums, they testify to the evolution of knowledge and its diversification in various disciplines. In order to safeguard, conserve and study this precious heritage, we need to implement a cultural project that activates that "process of awareness" on which cataloging is based. This is a "reasoned awareness" that enables an object to be framed within a system of scientific knowledge and historical-critical relationships, which are essential to its conservation and, consequently, to its public exploitation. Through this process, we can uncover the history of an object, its characteristics and its uniqueness. This is the case, for example, of an optical microscope on display in the Museo di Strumentaria medica (Medical Equipment Museum), which is part of the Museum System of the University of Siena.
Keywords: A. Sclavo; Archives and museums; Cultural heritage; History of public health; History of vaccines and vaccinations; Medical museology.
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