The Museum of Natural History, University of Florence, is an institution whose services include scientific and museological research, promotion and popularization of scientific and naturalistic culture, and conservation and enhancement of its collections. The Museum of Natural History is provided with Regulations (Rectoral Decree no. 29 of May 14 2004), which specify its aims and discipline its operation, and with a Charter of Services.
1.2 Charter of Services
The Charter of Services, provided for by the Directive of the President of the Council of Ministers of January 27 1994, describes the conditions by which the services of the Museum are offered and the rules for their fruition. Its purpose is to favour a direct relationship between the Museum and its users. The Charter of Services may be revised and adjourned periodically to improve the mechanisms of Museum use according to the requirements of the users.
1.3 Basic principles of the Charter of Services
The Charter of Services is based on the following principles:
Equality: all have an equal right to use the Museum without distinction of sex, race, language, religion or political opinion. Access to the services is assured, without any territorial limitation.
The Museum endeavours to make its services accessible to those with any type of disability.
Impartiality: the behaviour towards users is based on the principles of impartiality, justice and objectivity. The user may benefit from the professionalism and expertise of the Museum personnel.
Continuity: the services are provided with continuity and regularity within the established opening hours.
Safety: use of the Museum services is assured in conformity with current laws regarding the safety of persons and the protection of privacy.
Participation: the user is encouraged to participate in the activities of the Museum and to help improve its services. In particular, the user can present claims and appeals to the Administration, provide suggestions and indicate deficiencies; when expressly requested by the user, the Museum must provide a written response, within 30 days from the date of presentation of the request.
Quality: the Museum intends to adopt the standards of operation indicated by the Ministerial Decree of May 10 2001. To this purpose, the Museum uses specific indicators to evaluate the quality of its services; in particular, it applies criteria of efficacy and efficiency.
2. Access to the Museum
Access to the Museum is available to all according to the conditions reported in the present Charter (paragraphs 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4). Each visitor is required to behave in a civil manner, in full respect of the dignity of others.
Any person whose behaviour causes material damage to the Museum structure or physical damage to persons will be subject to civil and criminal prosecution and will be immediately ejected from the Museum.
Any behaviour considered offensive or injurious to the dignity of others or causing serious disturbance to other visitors will result in immediate ejection from the Museum.
For reasons of public hygiene, animals are not allowed in the Museum.
2.1 Hours and conditions of access
The Museum of Natural History is open to the public, upon payment of the admission fee, on:
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday: 9:00 to 13:00.
Saturday: 9:00 to 17:00.
Sunday: 9:00 to 13:00.
The Museum is closed on: January 1, Easter, May 1, August 15, December 25.
To permit adequate planning of visits, reservations are obligatory for schools and other groups, whether a guide is requested or not.
Reservations can be made during Museum opening hours by telephoning the individual Sections or by visiting the Museum web site.
2.3 Admission fees
Admission to the Museum is allowed upon payment of an admission fee. The Scientific Council decides on the types of admission tickets and the fee for each type.
2.4 Guided tours
The Museum of Natural History provides a service of guided tours of its exhibition halls. The cost of the guided tour will be established by deliberation of the Scientific Council. The cost does not include the price of the admission ticket. The duration of the guided tour may vary according to the individual Sections visited or upon request by the school.
Guided tours specifically planned for disabled persons are provided upon request.
3. Types of Services
The main services of the Museum are:
Visits without a guide;
Loans for exhibition purposes;
Loans for research and/or teaching;
Teaching and general educational advice;
Reproduction of documents;
Sale of objects and publications;
Exhibition spaces and meeting halls;
Photographic, video, cinematographic and television recording;
Advice on the scientific collections;
Reproduction and exchange of casts or duplicates.
3.1 Visits without a guide
This type of visit is possible during Museum opening hours upon payment of the admission fee. Reservations are necessary for schools or other groups (see paragraph 2.2).
3.2 Guided tours
Guided tours must always be booked in advance (paragraph 2.4). The guide provides a highly qualified educational service.
3.3 Loans for exhibition purposes
Specimens from the Museum collections can be loaned for temporary exhibitions.
The request of a loan must be addressed to the President of the Museum by compilation of the appropriate form (attachment A - RTF, PDF). Within five days after receiving the request, the President will evaluate the scientific validity of the exhibition, the reliability of the organizer and the effects of the specimen’s temporary absence on the equilibrium of the Museum, will make a decision and will transmit the request to the Museum Director. The Director will then forward the request to the Head of the relevant Section. After soliciting the written opinion of the Curator of the collection and in the absence of obstacles, the Section Head will deal with the request within fifteen days after its receipt.
If the Section Head believes that there are valid reasons to deny the loan, he must provide a written opinion to the Director.
If granted, the loan will take place at the time and for the period agreed upon with the applicant.
The conditions of the loan include verification of the requisites of the exhibition site, the choice of the specialized firm for the packing and shipping of the material, and the stipulation of an insurance policy with comprehensive, “shelf to shelf” coverage.
All expenses deriving from the packing and shipping operations, as well as those of the insurance policy, will be borne by the applicant.
A fee will be charged for the loan, based on the inventory value classes. The Scientific Council will decide on the relative fees.
In each case, the applicant undertakes to specify (on the label and/or in the exhibition catalogue) that the specimen has been loaned by the Museum of Natural History, University of Florence, and to send a copy of the catalogue to the relevant Section of the Museum.
3.4 Loans for research
Museum specimens can be loaned, for research purposes, to scientific institutions, including those of the University of Florence, as well as to individual researchers and experts of proven scientific experience.
Each loan request (attachment B - RTF, PDF) must be sent to the Section Head, who will forward it to the Curator of the relevant collection. The Curator will evaluate the request based on the reliability and scientific seriousness of the applicant and, in the absence of obstacles, will proceed with the loan. Any negative opinion must be adequately motivated.
A loan may be granted even in the case of research involving the use of destructive analytical methods provided the applicant receives authorization by both the Section Head and the Curator of the collection (attachment C - RTF, PDF) and declares his acceptance of the conditions set out in the specific regulations (attachment D - RTF, PDF).
In each case, national or international circulation of loaned specimens must follow the rules set out in the “Code of Cultural Materials and Landscape” (Legislative Decree no. 42 of January 22 2004 and subsequent modifications).
The loan applicant undertakes to specify in each scientific or other publication that the specimen has been made available for study by the Museum of Natural History, University of Florence; the applicant is also required to cite the specimen’s catalogue number (where present) and to send a copy of the publication to the Museum.
For requests of loans involving Museum material with an inventory value greater than € 2.000,00, the application must be forwarded to the Museum President, who will make a decision within five days and transmit the request to the Section Head. After soliciting the written opinion of the Curator of the collection and in the absence of obstacles, the Section Head will deal with the request within thirty days after its receipt.
Each loan must be recorded on the appropriate Museum loan forms or registers; the date of restitution of the material must be recorded as soon as it returns to the Museum collections.
Specimens will be loaned for a maximum of 6 months; however, this period may be extended upon motivated application by the loan recipient.
3.5 Teaching and general educational advice
The Museum provides services of teaching and general educational advice. These may consist of courses to be held in schools, assistance with university teaching, guided excursions and other activities involving specially qualified personnel. The times, means and costs of this type of service will be agreed upon according to the requested intervention.
3.6 Scientific advice
Scientific advice is provided whenever the Museum is asked to help resolve problems of a scientific nature. There may be a fee for this type of service, based on the cost of professional consultations.
3.7 Scientific collaboration
Scientific collaboration refers to projects or studies involving the Museum as the proposing subject and/or the participating subject. Such collaboration, which usually does not involve any payment by the research partners, will be subordinate to the planned financial coverage of a given project.
For simple forms of collaboration, the informal procedures and conditions already consolidated in the research community can be followed. However, precise agreements must be stipulated when the collaboration involves travel and accommodation, hospitality towards Italian and foreign researchers or the substantial use of personnel and/or specimens for specific research projects.
When scientific collaboration with other research groups and/or institutions must be formalized (e.g. through research agreements), it must be authorized by the Museum President, who will inform the Scientific Council and, upon conclusion of the negotiation, will sign the act of collaboration along with the coordinator of the research.
3.8 Reproduction of documents
It is possible to reproduce books, periodicals or other material possessed by the Museum, using methods most appropriate to each specific case and in full respect of current laws governing copyright and patrimony protection. Photocopying costs will be set by the Scientific Council. The feasibility and costs of other means of reproduction will be evaluated case by case by the Section Head.
3.9 Sale of objects and publications
The Museum contains one or more sales points where visitors can buy material produced by or for the museum, such as souvenirs, books, objects, posters, CD-ROMs, videos and gadgets.
3.10 Exhibition spaces and meeting halls
The protection of the collections and the scheduling of its own exhibitions and/or initiatives permitting, the Museum may concede the use of its spaces and exhibition infrastructure to public or private subjects. Each concession must be approved by the Scientific Council after assessment of the validity of the initiative and the reliability of the organizer. For the cost of such uses, see FEES. The Museum Director, who is responsible for the administrative procedures, may apply discounts to the scheduled fees.
All fees will be paid directly to the Museum, which will pass on the established percentage to the University of Florence.
Any expenses arising from the use of the spaces, the eventual insurance policy and all cleaning operations at the end of the period of use will be the responsibility of the applicant, as will any damage occurring to the spaces, to objects or to the collections. In each case, it is necessary to submit a formal application (attachment E - RTF, PDF) and to comply with the rules for the concession of the spaces (attachment F - RTF, PDF).
Detailed characteristics of the spaces (floor plans, dimensions, computer equipment, videorecorders, room capacities, etc.) will be provided at the time of application. The Museum will allow prior inspection of the selected rooms.
The Galileo Gallery (Tribuna di Galileo) and the Strozzi Hall (Sala Strozzi) can be used by Departments and Institutes of the University of Florence for meetings, graduation ceremonies and short conferences. Such uses of these spaces must be regulated by agreements setting out the conditions and rules of concession.
3.11 Internet site
The Museum’s official Internet site can be visited at: http://www.msn.unifi.it
The site contains information about the Museum hours, cost of admission and conditions of access, the Charter of Services, as well as the activities and characteristics of the Museum.
Visitors to the site can also buy material produced by or for the Museum, such as souvenirs, books, objects, posters, CD-ROMs, videos and gadgets.
3.12 Photographic, video, cinematic and television recording
The Museum allows photographic, video, cinematic and television recording of its collections and exhibition spaces. Applications (attachment G - RTF, PDF) must be accompanied by a declaration of acceptance of the conditions set out in the regulations (attachment H - RTF, PDF).
3.13 Advice on the scientific collections
Advice on the scientific collections housed in the Museum is provided to all researchers, albeit with the usual confidentiality concerning newly acquired or discovered materials. Those seeking advice on the collections must make a motivated request to the Curators of the collections and must undertake to cite the examined collections and the Museum.
3.14 Reproduction and exchange of casts or duplicates
To promote cultural exchanges necessary for research and to enhance the collections, the Museum’s Laboratory of Restoration and Fossil Casting produces casts of specimens. Requests by public and private Institutions for reproductions of specimens for exhibition or teaching purposes are accepted on the basis of specific agreements. The times, costs and conditions will be evaluated case by case based on the types of specimens and the Museum’s established work schedule.
4. Safety Measures
The Museum adopts all procedures foreseen by current legislation to guarantee the safety of the objects housed therein and the safety of its employees and visitors.
All those who enter the Museum, be they staff or visitors, are required to respect the safety measures decreed by the Museum administration; failure to do so will lead to immediate ejection from the Museum.
5. Privacy Measures
All personal data acquired by the Museum are subject to current laws governing the respect of privacy and the protection of personal data (Legislative Decree no. 196/2003).
For safety reasons, the Museum is equipped with a video-surveillance system, whose presence is indicated by specific signs.
Florence, 16 June 2005