CUTVAP Report

Abstract

 

         This paper is a report on the work I accomplished as an intern for the CUTVAP museum.  I describe CUTVAP’s goals, aims, and duties to the city of Siena.  I relate these to the work I was assigned and completed.  I also describe the exhibition we created with the instruments we worked with and how this exhibition can/did bridge the gap between the public and the museum.



CUTVAP

 

The History

 

The Santa Maria della Scala, Siena, was one of the first hospitals in Europe, caring for sick pilgrims and orphans in the 11th century[1].  At the end of the 1980’s when construction began on a new hospital in Siena, "Le Scotte"[2], the amount of historical and scientific instruments hidden away in Santa Maria came to light.  The beginnings of CUTVAP emerged with an initiative to rescue and take inventory of these historical scientific objects.  These ancient scientific tools were recognized as a cultural asset, a work of art or an archeological find acknowledged by the Code of Cultural Heritage in 2004[3].  The project was made possible with the support of the Chair of the History of Medicine and the Historical University.  With all of the success in 1994[4], the organization became the first University center for the protection and enhancement of the ancient scientific heritage of Siena (CUTVAP).  Today the museum preserves over five thousand objects from instruments, apparatus, models, tables, glassware, scientific, and historical interest particularly linked to the medical health of Siena.


[1] http://www.santamariadellascala.com/w2d3/v3/view/sms2/storia--22/index_en.html, accessed May 7, 2013.      

[2] Angela Caronna and Gigliola Terenna, “La Storia”, Centro Servizi di Ateneo Tutela e Valorizzazione Antico Patrimonio Scientifico Senese (CUTVAP), 1.

[3] Angela Caronna and Gigliola Terenna, “La Storia”, Centro Servizi di Ateneo Tutela e Valorizzazione Antico Patrimonio Scientifico Senese (CUTVAP), 1.

[4] Angela Caronna and Gigliola Terenna, “La Storia”, Centro Servizi di Ateneo Tutela e Valorizzazione Antico Patrimonio Scientifico Senese (CUTVAP), 1.

   
  
 
  
    
  
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     Aims and Objective of CUTVAP           ART. 1         The University Center for the Protection and Promotion of the ancient scientific heritage Sienese Service Center of the University, as a structure for the organization and provision of services to institutional instruments.     [1]              ART. 2         Aims and activities         1. The main objective of the Center is the protection and enhancement of scientific heritage. These technical objects of historical interest were once kept at scientific institutions throughout Siena.  The museum collects these objects in order to promote the dissemination of scientific culture in both academic and other institutions.    2. For the purposes of paragraph l, the Center concentration includes:    a) The creation of a program of measures for the identification, cataloging, preservation and refurbishment of historical science and technology at the disposal of the University.    b) The promotion of studies and research aimed at defining the methods of protection and enhancement of the historical-scientific.    c) The identification of initiatives aimed at safeguarding science and nature.    d) The promotion of activities and popular scientific communication.    e) Teaching support for the disciplines related to the museum collections available.    f) The increase and improvement of the collections according to new principles with the staging of exhibitions also local and itinerant.    g) A consulting business aimed at the protection, conservation, and enhancement of scientific material of historical interest.     [2]                                                   [1]      Angela Caronna, “Article One”,   Regolamento del Centro Servizi di Ateneo denominato “Centro Universitario per la tutela e la valorizzazione dell'antico patrimonio scientifico senese”,  1.       [2]      Angela Caronna, “Article Two”,   Regolamento del Centro Servizi di Ateneo denominato “Centro Universitario per la tutela e la valorizzazione dell'antico patrimonio scientifico senese”,  2.

Aims and Objective of CUTVAP

 

ART. 1

 

The University Center for the Protection and Promotion of the ancient scientific heritage Sienese Service Center of the University, as a structure for the organization and provision of services to institutional instruments.[1]

 

ART. 2

 

Aims and activities

 

1. The main objective of the Center is the protection and enhancement of scientific heritage. These technical objects of historical interest were once kept at scientific institutions throughout Siena.  The museum collects these objects in order to promote the dissemination of scientific culture in both academic and other institutions.

2. For the purposes of paragraph l, the Center concentration includes:

a) The creation of a program of measures for the identification, cataloging, preservation and refurbishment of historical science and technology at the disposal of the University.

b) The promotion of studies and research aimed at defining the methods of protection and enhancement of the historical-scientific.

c) The identification of initiatives aimed at safeguarding science and nature.

d) The promotion of activities and popular scientific communication.

e) Teaching support for the disciplines related to the museum collections available.

f) The increase and improvement of the collections according to new principles with the staging of exhibitions also local and itinerant.

g) A consulting business aimed at the protection, conservation, and enhancement of scientific material of historical interest.[2]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] Angela Caronna, “Article One”, Regolamento del Centro Servizi di Ateneo denominato“Centro Universitario per la tutela e la valorizzazione dell'antico patrimonio scientifico senese”, 1.

[2] Angela Caronna, “Article Two”, Regolamento del Centro Servizi di Ateneo denominato“Centro Universitario per la tutela e la valorizzazione dell'antico patrimonio scientifico senese”, 2.

First Visit to CUTVAP

 

-Objects in office are mostly medical instruments and models on display.

-Museum of mostly bones, models, and preserved organs is located in a basement.

-Display is especially for study (not general public) current students in university/scholars.

-Specimens can be removed from display to be observed.

-Display follows evolutionist criteria.

-These specimens were once located next to the cemetery and were arranged differently.

-Then brought to San Miniato and re-arranged.

-There are colored sculls for education to differentiate the parts of the scull.

-Specimens came from bodies that were executed criminals or bodies that had no family to claim

            them.

-This was the practice for obtaining bodies for study until execution became illegal in 18th

            century.

-Two different research tracks: disease and physiology.

-Bodies with disease came from Santa Maria della Scala.

-Bodies for physiology came from prisons.[1]

 

Impression of CUTVAP

 

I was very surprised by the way CUTVAP was designed because it is so small.  When I think of a museum, I think of large display cases and each individual object is easy to see.  There is a lot of information visible about the object.  In CUTVAP, the objects are really cramped throughout the office and there are no labels for the objects or visible information.  When we arrived I thought that the office was only for storage. As the tour continued I found that the office was the museum.  I could not understand how that space could be a place where people could learn about the history of medical objects.[2]

 

 

 

 

[1] Notes from visit to CUTVAP, February 6, 2013.

[2] Notes from visit to CUTVAP, February 6, 2013.


Internship

 

Goals


“The initial goals were to be able to carry out one of the many things to do and temporarily "set aside in the drawer."  One of these was the recovery of the collection of psychology was well suited to the nature and number of pieces of the collection to be given to a work internship.  As for training purposes it seemed perfect as could be implemented in a short time all those actions delegated to safeguarding a collection of scientific discovery from exposure.

I imagined the internship as an opportunity to create something new without disrupting other activities of CUTVAP, and so it was.”[1]


-Angela Caronna, Director of CUTVAP


List of Goals

 

-Update catalogue on psychological objects

-Find objects / collect

-Clean / Restore

-Match items with existing files / update new files[2]


Explanation of Goals

Our main objective at CUTVAP was to update the current catalogue of psychological tests and objects, using general skills for collections management.  The collection was last updated in the 1990’s and was due for re-numbering, documenting, photographing, restoration, storage, and research.  We were to accomplish these tasks in preparation for the new catalogue.[3]



[1] Angela Carona, e-mail message in her own words to author, April 24, 2013.

[2] Notes from visit to CUTVAP, February 6, 2013.

[3] Notes from work at CUTVAP, March 20, 2013.


Tasks Accomplished

 

-Restoration

            -Wipe dust

            -Clean with wood cleaner

            -Clean with metal cleaner

            -Restore broken objects

-Photograph objects

            -Scan old photographs

            -Upload onto computer

            -Label photos with new number

            -Separate photos of lost objects

            -Edit pictures in Photoshop

            -Make photos TIFF format, JPG format, and a smaller JPG format

-Research information about objects

-Put a new catalogue number on objects

            -Record new catalogue number in catalogue

-Put objects away in storage[1]







[1] Notes from work at CUTVAP, April 29, 2013.

Reflection of Goals/Aims versus Tasks Accomplished

 

When I came to Siena School for Liberal Arts and found that Museum Internship was a part of my curriculum I concluded that the objects I would be working with would be artifacts or artworks.  It was a surprise to find myself working with scientific instruments.  I discovered that these objects are treated with similar processes as with other artifacts.[1]  My work consisted of collections management with cataloguing, photographing, preservation, research, and documentation.[2]  It was also pleasing to find that the subjects we were learning in the Museum Studies classes were very pertinent to the work at CUTVAP.

The work we did for CUTVAP was mostly in the field of collections management.  The International Council of Museums defines collections management.  “It is concerned with issues of preservation use of collections, and record keeping, as well as how the collections support the museum’s mission and purpose”.[3]  We addressed this definition of museum management with all of the preservation, documentation, and record keeping we did for CUTVAP’s psychological objects.[4]  In terms of the museum’s mission, the objects we were working with are old psychological tests from the 1960s[5], acquired from Institute of General and Clinical Psychology of Siena[6].  The Encyclopedia Britannica defines psychological testing as, “the systematic use of tests to quantify psychophysical behavior, abilities, and problems and to make predictions about psychological performance”.[7]  This definition classifies the objects as scientific culture, which is addressed in Article One and Article Two of Aims and Objectives of CUTVAP.[8]

The tasks we accomplished for CUTVAP are the work of a variety of classified jobs for a museum.  Some of the work was for the registrar[9], such as labeling the objects with a new catalogue number[10].  There was a lot of work that is usually for the conservator[11], which included

 

[1] Notes from Curatorial Studies lecture with Ada Cattaneo, February 26, 2013.

[2] Notes from work at CUTVAP, April 29, 2013.

[3] Boylan, Patrick J. (Editor), Nicola Ladkin, “Collections Management”, Running a Museum: A Practical Handbook. Accessed May 7, 2013, 17, http://icom.museum/uploads/tx_hpoindexbdd/practical_handbook.pdf.

[4] Notes from work at CUTVAP, April 29, 2013.

[5] Terenna, Gigliola, “Inventario”, La Collezione degli Strumenti di Psicologia (Siena, Italy: nuova imagine editrice, 1998), 20.

[6] Terenna, Gigliola, “Inventario”, La Collezione degli Strumenti di Psicologia (Siena, Italy: nuova imagine editrice, 1998), 20.

[7] http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/481664/psychological-testing, accessed May 7, 2013.

[8] Angela Caronna, “Article One” and “Article Two”, Regolamento del Centro Servizi di Ateneo denominato“Centro Universitario per la tutela e la valorizzazione dell'antico patrimonio scientifico senese”, 1.

[9] Notes from Curatorial Studies lecture with Ada Cattaneo, February 26, 2013.

[10] Notes from work at CUTVAP, April 29, 2013.

[11] Notes from Curatorial Studies lecture with Ada Cattaneo, February 26, 2013.

cleaning and restoration of the objects.[1]  We also documented all of the objects with photography and made sure the images were ready for the catalogue, which is part of the work of the curatorial assistant.[2]  I thought that allowing us to do a variety of work that is required for a museum enables us to know what it takes to manage a museum and also helps us to know what kind of job we would be best suited for in the future.  I appreciated this choice to have us do a range of the type of work for a museum because we would have only focused on the one aspect of the museum, which would not have been in line with the curriculum of Museum Studies we were looking at the museum in it’s entirety in history and contemporary time.

It is clear that CUTVAP does well at accomplishing their goal of  “Protection and Promotion of the ancient scientific heritage”.[3]  There was one aspect that I felt they were lacking when it came to their aims, which was the public outreach, “e) Teaching support for the disciplines related museum collections available”.[4]{C}  I understand that CUTVAP sometimes makes trips to schools and present the objects they have as part of an educational program.[5]  These educational programs are educational outreach but I believe the efforts could be improved.  The entire three months that I was working in the CUTVAP I did not see a single visitor from the public come to see the objects.  

The CUTVAP is located in the Medical Faculty of the Siena University[6] and their objects are all medical instruments.  This leads me to believe that the students would be interested in the objects they have.  The students could use them for research and for essays, in a similar way to the Anatomical Museum.[7]  They could observe the objects without taking them from the CUTVAP.  (We were able to address this issue of public relations through an exhibition that we helped to realize for the CUTVAP.  I will discuss this exhibition and the way in which we addressed the issue of public relation bellow.)

 





[1] Notes from work at CUTVAP, April 29, 2013.

[2] Notes from Curatorial Studies lecture with Ada Cattaneo, February 26, 2013.

[3] Angela Caronna, “Article One”, Regolamento del Centro Servizi di Ateneo denominato“Centro Universitario per la tutela e la valorizzazione dell'antico patrimonio scientifico senese”, 1.

{cke_protected_3}[4]{cke_protected_4} Angela Caronna, “Article Two”, Regolamento del Centro Servizi di Ateneo denominato“Centro Universitario per la tutela e la valorizzazione dell'antico patrimonio scientifico senese”, 2.

[5] Notes from Curatorial Studies lecture with Ada Cattaneo, May 9, 2013.

[6] Notes from work at CUTVAP, April 29, 2013.

[7] Notes from visit to CUTVAP, February 6, 2013.

Exhibition

Exhibition Tasks


-Meet with industrial design teachers Antonio Eizzo and Maurizo Caporal

-Curate the tests to be used for the exhibition

            -Choose three objects

                        -Stereoscope

                        -Delacroy box

                        -Probability test

-Choose location for exhibition in San Miniato

-Create posters for exhibition

-Create PowerPoint presentation of the objects in exhibition

            -Include information about the collection

            -Information about psychology and testing intelligence

            -Specific information about the exhibition

            -Specific information about the three objects in depth

-Create a pamphlet of information on three objects displayed

-Design exhibition display

-Physically attend the exhibition during the two days of display

            -Introduce visitors to the objects and explain them

            -Answer any questions the vistors might have about the objects[1]

           

Exhibition with CUTVAP


            I was surprised to find that we were to be given the chance to curate an exhibition with the psychological objects we had been working with.  There were many ways we would become involved in the total process of a museum.  Within all of the day to day tasks of keeping the collection up to date, there is also the current events and interaction with the public to keep up.  I love curating exhibitions because it makes my work feel valid when people admire the things that are on display.  Of course this is the point of a museum. “Museums look after the world’s cultural property and interpret it to the public.”[1]

We began to work together with an Industrial Design course and curated the objects with the professors, Antonio Eizzo and Maurizo Caporal.  They expressed their want to make the exhibition interactive[2], which worked well because the objects are mostly puzzles.[3]  After careful consideration we settled on the Stereoscope, Decroly Box, and Binostat.  They communicated their interest in the way that the Stereoscope and Binostat had modern applications, and I think Decroly Box was intriguing because it is a very difficult puzzle to solve.[4]

Each object had its own idiosyncrasy in comparison to the rest of the objects.  The Stereoscope “allows to simultaneously observe a pair of drawings whose images combine and generate a three-dimensional image”.[5]  It is clear that this object was particular because it demonstrated the earliest experiments with three-dimensionality, which is a concept that is very pertinent to contemporary times because three-dimensional movies are all the rage.  The Binostat deals with the 1:2:1 ratio. “It consists of two plastic trays, the first numbered with protrusions, where steel balls fall through to the other tray, with eight channels for the collection of marbles variable.”[6]  This subject was interesting because of the validity in probability and variable of change.  The last, and certainly the most popular subject was the Decroly Box “for measuring the capacity manual, consisting of a wooden box with locks and mechanisms to be used in sequence


[1] Lewis, Geoffrey, Boylan, Patrick J., “The Role of Museums: The Role of Museums and the Professional Code of Ethics”, Running a Museum: A Practical Handbook. Accessed May 13, 2013, 1, http://icom.museum/uploads/tx_hpoindexbdd/practical_handbook.pdf.

[2] Notes from work at CUTVAP, March 13, 2013.

[3] Notes from work at CUTVAP, March 13, 2013.

[4] Notes from work at CUTVAP, March 13, 2013.

[5] Terenna, Gigliola, e Vannozzi, Francesca, “Stereoscopio”, La Collezione degli Strumenti di Psicologia (Siena, Italy: nuova imagine editrice, 1998), 52.

[6] Terenna, Gigliola, e Vannozzi, Francesca, “Binostat”, La Collezione degli Strumenti di Psicologia (Siena, Italy: nuova imagine editrice, 1998), 47.

in order to successfully open the cassette.”[1]  The Decroly Box was chosen for the allure of attempting to open the box and the fact that it was originally created as a test of intelligence.

Creating the exhibition was a real test of our knowledge of the collection and how well we could convey that knowledge only through the three instruments.  This is why the PowerPoint presentation was so important for the exhibition.  The PowerPoint presentation was able to give all of the extra information that we could not print onto a pamphlet.  We had posters of each displayed object with their information and also handouts of the same information.[2]  All of the work we had accomplished up to the exhibition was utilized for the showcase of the objects and the CUTVAP itself.

The exhibition was located in the main hall of the Medical Faculty University, which helped to attract students to experience the exhibition and partake in the interaction.  The students were like fish that you had to reel in by stopping them and talking to them.[3]  Once they were interacting with the objects you could see their fascination, which was very satisfying to see.  They all enjoyed each object displayed for their captivating aspects.

The one aspect that I was happy to be able to bring to light was the confusion of where these objects were derived from and why they were there in the hall.  No one knew about CUTVAP.  I was happy to explain the purpose of CUTVAP and to answer any initial questions about what CUTVAP does.  Some students expressed interest in studying the objects, and this got me pretty excited to connect the work of CUTVAP with the work of the students.  This is the kind of public relations that CUTVAP has been lacking and I was happy to be a part of the cause that could connect the CUTVAP to the appropriate audience.

Our initial introduction will enable CUTVAP to continue to educate the students of the Medical Faculty.  Those students could really utilize those objects for research and learning.  After this exhibition I feel like more people will want to visit the CUTVAP and see the objects that were hiding away in their small space.  If they continue to get a lot of publicity then they will be able to acquire a bigger space.  I hope my contribution made a difference to their structure and growth.




[1] Terenna, Gigliola, e Vannozzi, Francesca, “Cassetta di Decroly”, La Collezione degli Strumenti di Psicologia (Siena, Italy: nuova imagine editrice, 1998), 33.

[2] Notes on work for exhibition, May 8, 2013.

[3] Notes on work for exhibition, May 8, 2013.











[1] Notes on exhibition with CUTVAP, May 8, 2013

Bibliography

1. Angela Caronna, “Article One”, “Article Two”, Regolamento del Centro Servizi di Ateneo denominato“Centro Universitario per la tutela e la valorizzazione dell'antico patrimonio scientifico senese”, 1.

 

2. Angela Carona, e-mail message to author, April 24, 2013.

 

3. Angela Caronna and Gigliola Terenna, “La Storia”, Centro Servizi di Ateneo Tutela e Valorizzazione Antico Patrimonio Scientifico Senese (CUTVAP), 1.

 

4. Boylan, Patrick J. (Editor), Nicola Ladkin, “Collections Management”, “Running a Museum”, Running a Museum: A Practical Handbook. Accessed May 7, 2013, 17, http://icom.museum/uploads/tx_hpoindexbdd/practical_handbook.pdf.

 

5. Notes from Curatorial Studies lecture with Ada Cattaneo, February 26, 2013.

 

6. Notes from Curatorial Studies lecture with Ada Cattaneo, May 9, 2013.

 

5. Notes from visit to CUTVAP, February 6, 2013.

 

6. Notes from work at CUTVAP, February 11 – April 29, 2013.

 

7. Notes on work for exhibition, May 8, 2013.

 

8. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/481664/psychological-testing, accessed May 7, 2013.

 

9. http://www.santamariadellascala.com/w2d3/v3/view/sms2/storia--22/index_en.html, accessed May 7, 2013.    

 

10. Terenna, Gigliola, La Collezione degli Strumenti di Psicologia (Siena, Italy: nuova imagine editrice, 1998), 20, 33, 47, 52.