Designing the Scarpa’s collection. A journey into the traditional medicines of the people of the world

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Maria Canepa


ethnomedicine, exhibition, museography, design, anthropology


The University of Genoa Museum of Ethnomedicine “A. Scarpa” is a unique collection in the world museums panorama. It contains objects of great cultural value and was created with the intention of communicating the vast knowledge in the field of medicine, carried out by the populations of the planet.

In need of a new location, it has been the subject of a new set-up, effectively performed by a multidisciplinary team. The intent of this paper is to provide a specific look at the compositional and set-up aspects of the A. Scarpa Ethnomedicine Museum, and how this exhibition choice follows the evolution of the conception of the contemporary university museum. The new museum set-up was developed aiming to synthesize the entire cognitive path of ethnomedicine and the experience of A. Scarpa, keeping the complete collection separate, as it had already been designed in the previous configuration, so that it could be experienced by different users. The collection, previously housed in an unsuitable location, has been reorganized in a historic building located in a strategic area in the heart of the ancient city of Genoa.

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