Mineralogy Museum

The Mineralogy Museum is one of the oldest scientific museums of the University of Parma

By Sistema Museale Università di Parma

Maria Luigia (Museo Glauco Lombardi)Sistema Museale Università di Parma

A bit of history

In 1814, when the University was restored after the Napoleonic period, a mineralogical section already existed in the Cabinet of Natural History consisting of some important collections donated to the University by Maria Luigia. In 1895, with the subdivision of the existing university chair of Mineralogy and Geology, there was also the separation of the paleontological museum from the mineralogical one, both located in the central building of the University but on different floors. The scientific revolution of the eighteenth century also brought the development of chemistry and crystallography allowing to understand the relationships between shape, chemical composition and physico-crystallographic properties of those fascinating shiny objects.

Museo di MineralogiaSistema Museale Università di Parma

The exhibition

The current mineralogical collection originates from the meeting of some eighteenth-century private collections. The exposed part of the museum is a selection of about 800 mineral samples and about 500 of rocks. The minerals are ordered with systematic criteria of a chemical-crystallographic type. Inside the showcases there are the atomic structures of the main silicates and some curiosities about minerals.

Museo di MineralogiaSistema Museale Università di Parma

In the corridor there are some illustrative panels of the history of mineralogy and mineralogical crystallography, created for the 2014 Crystals exhibition.

MeteoriteSistema Museale Università di Parma


Worthy of note are the meteorites, coming from collections of the late 1700s and early 1800s, exhibited to the public for the first time in 2014, including the rare carbonaceous chondrite from Renazzo and the pallasite from Krasnoyarsk, as well as the only meteorite that fell in historical times in the Parma area of Borgo San Donnino (ancient name of Fidenza), which fell in 1808 at the Pieve di Cusignano, in the middle of the Napoleonic occupation.

MeteoritiSistema Museale Università di Parma

Quarzo AmetistaSistema Museale Università di Parma

The minerals

Various examples of minerals stand out in the display cases: the crystallization in a decimeter-sized vein of amethyst, a variety of violet quartz for entry into the crystalline structure of trivalent iron.

Malachiti, From the collection of: Sistema Museale Università di Parma
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Malachite, a green copper carbonate with a characteristic mammillary structure

LabradoriteSistema Museale Università di Parma

Iridescent labradorite, belonging to the plagioclase family, with zoned pluricentimeter crystals, in which the chemical variation determines a variation in the color of the iridescence

Septarie di BariteSistema Museale Università di Parma

The mineralogy of Parma

Interesting to learn about the mineralogy of the Parma area is the first showcase at the entrance, where we find some characteristic minerals of the Parma area and the nearby Reggiano, such as the rounded aggregations of barite (BaSO4), called septaria, the black quartz well crystallized in the gypsum, or the beautiful rhombohedral crystallizations of calcite. Although not very conspicuous, melanophlogite is very important, a rare silica clathrate, whose discovery in Parma is one of the few in the world.

BARITESistema Museale Università di Parma

A sample of barite.

EMATITESistema Museale Università di Parma

A sample of hematite.

HEMIMORFITESistema Museale Università di Parma

A sample of hemimorphite.

AZZURRITESistema Museale Università di Parma

A sample of azurite.

CALAMINASistema Museale Università di Parma

A sample of calamine.

Collezione KrantzSistema Museale Università di Parma

The rocks

As for the rocks, the Krantz collection presents the main lithotypes present on the earth's crust, while in the showcase on the side you can see the collection of polished plates of ornamental stones. Try to find the ones that are in your home!

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