M9 – Museum of the 20th Century will remain closed to the public from March 8th until further notice.
Science, technology and innovation
Technology plays a key part in our lives today. Although it may not seem immediately obvious, it also had a great influence on the lives of Italians throughout the 20th century. This section takes visitors behind the scenes of everyday life to explore the rich and contradictory mechanisms that drove this change.
Scientific progress can often be fraught with setbacks. It is a series of insights, attempts, failures, long waits and, when everything goes well, brilliant success. It is the culmination of work which, in the past, was often carried out by one person and which today sees hundreds of people involved, often for decades, in a single research project. In this section, visitors can learn about the lives and discoveries of scientists and innovators and how the Italian genius contributed to global technological growth.
Electric cables, gas pipelines, TV masts, motorways and railway lines: infrastructures are the veins and arteries of a country, essential for its smooth running but often taken for granted. Building them involved a huge financial, planning and operational effort on the part of the Italian State, the local authorities and the private sector.
This display retraces the stages of this mammoth task that lasted more than one hundred years and which brought energy, transportation, means of communication and the possibility of economic and social growth to Italy.
Our grandparents did not possess a fraction of the objects and technological devices we cannot live without today – and they probably wouldn’t have been able to imagine them either. This area shows how certain objects and their designs have revolutionised our lives and changed our habits over the years, inviting us to reflect how different everyday life was before they were invented.
All that glitters is not gold. This proverb applies just as much to science and technology as to anything else: history has taught us that technology can cause disasters and the deaths of hundreds or even thousands of people. This section of the museum illustrates some of the disasters and social tragedies caused by experimentation and large-scale application of important scientific and technological innovations.
For thousands of years, it took more than two days to get from Rome to Milan by carriage or on horseback. Although man has always been attracted to speed and tried to push it to its limits, it was only in the 20th century that transportation really became faster and accessible to the masses. This area shows how the new forms of transport – bicycles, motorbikes, cars, trains, ships and planes – have made distances shorter and cut travelling time for people and goods.