Its history is fascinating and began in the eighteenth century when Duke Francesco III of Este, on proposal of the Ministry of the Reformers of the Studies, decided to send a university professor on Modena's hills "in order to form a national Museum" mostly dedicated to the mineral reign.
The collections of this Museum, that in 1846 Pietro Doderlein defined "gem between the most beautiful and munificent institutions of H.R.H. Francesco IV", began to be clearly delineated since the very beginning and they became richer with the passing of time as a result of donations, purchases and legacies. More recent is the acquisition of samples collected from some researchers of the Department during numerous campaigns of survey also in far regions, like Greenland, Brasil, Africa, Australia and Antarctica.
It is only in the last few years that the Museum decided to open to the public in a perspective of greater visibility, having started a new plan of valorisation and of spreading of its enclosed scientific and historical-cultural patrimony, unique and precious, also through official attribution (April 8th, 2005) of a new, simple and evocative name: "Gemma 1786", that is the Estense Mineralogical and Geological Museum of the Earth Sciences Department.
Special attention was given to the world of people with motor disabilities, also in close collaboration with the Disabled Acceptance Service of University of Modena. Visiting "Gemma 1786" is not, in fact, hindered because of architectural barriers; moreover, concerning visual disabilities, appropriate Braille labels have been written in order to illustrate collections, exhibitions and the advertising flyer of the Museum.
The museum can be visited on demand, calling +39(0)59/2055811 .