Since its birth in 1936 and up to this day the Institute has constructed, acquired and preserved a multitude of scientific instruments used in various research activities.
Within the scope of the recent reorganisation of the SISMOS Functional unit, which came about at the start of 2008, the first census of the historical instruments owned by INGV was started. This allows both for the stocktaking and the economic and cultural quantification of those assets. This opportunity also allows us to assess how many and which instruments should be submitted to restoration. From here the need arose to set up inside SISMOS its own maintenance and restoration laboratory.
The Laboratory’s mission provides for two types of activity:
- conservative and functional restorations as well as periodic, non-invasive cleaning fo the instruments;
- technical support in the organisation of temporary exhibitions.
The spaces are broken down into several sectors: laboratory for cleaning the materials, diagnostic area, laboratory for non-invasive analysis and rooms for the actual restoration operations. The following instruments are restored: Seismology, Topography and Geodesy, earth magnetism, Meteorology, Astronomy, Physics, Electromagnetism, Measures, Optics.
The Laboratory operates with instruments and in ambient compliant with the currently applicable environmental and health and safety regulations. It has spaces dedicated to storage too, for receiving the materials coming from other INGV sites or from related bodies, along with areas for photography and video-making.
Conservative restoration allows for the valorisation of the existing material that may already be in acceptable general conditions, making objects that had undergone alterations for historical or natural causes to be fully accessible once again. It eliminates the effects of decay recuperating the historical work in order to make it more stable and to insert it into a new living regime addressed to prevention and the stopping of negligence and the pathologies undergone.
The functional restoration of an instrument (today considered to be a document) should be also be considered as a fully-fledged “historiographic procedure': it indeed allows us to detect through the analysis of the activities, the inventiveness of the inventors and the workmanship of the builders, in the technological and conceptual context of the times. Also, it allows the recovery of skills lost in time and following the evolution of industrial interests. In this regard, by means of collaboration with the SISMOS Media Library and with the Research and recovery of historical seismograms sector, video interviews are planned with experienced researchers and technicians both in Italy and abroad with a view to filling the knowledge gaps, above all practical, in regard to the construction and maintenance of instruments today considered to be historical.
Each instrument is associated with a digital chart complete with photographic images, drafted according to national catalographic norms: this allows for the exchange of information between the different subject who operate in the cataloguing sector. The charts will be gathered into catalogues that SISMOS will insert in its own Web pages dedicated to the virtual museum accessible to a diversified remote user base.
Graziano Ferrari(person in charge from 2016)