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History and mission

With the celebration of the centenary of the University of Trieste (1924-2024), the University Museum System (smaTs) has been renewed and aligned with the institutional purposes of the University of Trieste. SmaTs is referenced in Article 1 (Nature and Purposes) of the University Statute (2020) and has its own Regulations (No. 1650 of 22.12.2011). SmaTs aims at contributing to the University's Third Mission - Public and Social Engagement.

SmaTs was established in 2004, aiming at preserving historical materials and research instruments, as well as cataloguing the cultural heritage of the University, as in the case of artworks resulting from donations and acquisitions. smaTs has also started the digital cataloguing of some hitherto unexplored part of the UniTs cultural heritage, also creating interactive digital storytelling and virtual visits. and proposed consultations through innovative interactive methods.

Within the smaTs, the following resources are integrated:

  • The Archive of Writers and of Regional Culture, which includes library and documentary heritage, iconographic material, as well as a significant number of artistic assets.
  • The Art Gallery, which preserves paintings which were acquired from the National Exhibition of Contemporary Italian Painting, held at the University in December, 1953.
  • The Herbarium (TSB), listed in the Index Herbarium, which contains collections of vascular plants, mosses, algae and lichenised fungi.
  • The Museum of Mineralogy and Petrography.
  • The Gaetano Kanizsa Fund, which includes the scientific and artistic works of one of the leading personalities in experimental psychology.
  • Scientific instruments in medicine, engineering, and physics.

The smaTs is committed to preserving, increasing, and enhancing the cultural, scientific, and natural heritage collected over a century at the University of Trieste, aiming at:

  • providing a comprehensive view of assets and collections which are preserved and in part exhibited at the University facilities, overseeing the exhibits;
  • making accessible the richness of the cultural and scientific heritage, both physically and by mean of modern digital media; and virtualmente attraverso la digitalizzazione on line;
  • ensuring accessibility to assets, as well as providing knowledge to scholars and researchers;
  • strengthening connections with other museum systems in the Friuli Venezia Giulia Region, as well as throughout the country, and fostering international collaborations;
  • emphasizing the University's connection with its territory (which has the peculiarity of including a bordering area) exhibiting its history, as well s the personalities and works of its researchers.

The smaTs is associated with ICOM, and the Museum of Mineralogy and Petrography is associated to the National Association of Scientific Museums (ANMS). Furthermore, a memorandum of understanding with ERPAC - Regional Body for Cultural Heritage of the Autonomous Region Friuli Venezia Giulia foresees a multi-year collaboration for the digitization of the University's collections.

The smaTs adopts the new museum definition approved by ICOM - International Council of Museums in Prague on August 24, 2022: accessible, inclusive and attentive to sustainability and diversity.