In fine weather, it’s nice to get there by walking along the Navile Canal, used for transporting goods until the second post-war. It is the Furnace Galotti “Battiferro”, built in 1887 and from 1997 charming home of Museum of Industrial Heritage of Bologna, which documents, displays and spread economic and productive history of the city and its region from the fourteenth century to contemporary.
Disused in 1966, the furnace has been restored with a watchful eye by Town Council, which has preserved Hoffmann kiln and recovered the upper floors spaces, intended for drying raw materials. In this building worked about two hundred employees, engaged in the production of bricks and terracotta ornaments. The total extent of the exhibition space is about 3000 square feet on three floors, with English and Italian languages information. An adjacent building hosts a temporary exhibition hall, offices, library.
The idea of the Museum comes from an exhibition entitled Machinery Industry School. From craft to professional workers, set up in the former Sala Borsa in 1980, which recovered and exposed the historical collections of Aldini-Valeriani Institute: using objects as keys to interpret the context in which they had been adapted and realized, the event has attracted the attention to the content of industrial reality.
The dive into the past starts from the outside and in every step we discover something new and unusual, or perhaps never imagined – especially for those who know little about Bologna history or arrive from out of town; there are more than 1000 pieces exposed, different for kinds and provenance: machines, plastic models, equipment and scientific instruments, interactive stations. The pieces were given to the museum by local companies to be valued in exhibition tours, initially focused on the history of excellence and innovation in the mechanical and electromechanical district of Bologna, later expanded to also include areas such as biomedical engineering and motoring. The objects were cataloged and can be found in a database on IBC Emilia-Romagna website.
Particularly striking is the permanent exhibition “Produced in Bologna”, and in particular the first section, “Bologna of water and silk“, dedicated to Bologna silk that in XIV-XVIII centuries was able to export each year tons of yarn and veils, revealing a surprising city now disappeared. The activity is explained through photographs, scenery, exhibits, models, audiovisual, working models, like the one that reproduces a Bologna silk mill in 1:2 scale.
The simple story and some pictures fail to express the complexity and the involvement this museum is capable of: it is best to visit it.