The Museum is located inside the Central University building, overlooking the courtyard of the ancient courtyard, doctor of the University.
Opened in 1936, contains manuscripts, printed texts, scientific instruments, anatomical and natural preparations that are a testimony of the history of the University from its medieval origins.
The second half of the 18th century-when, as a result of the reforms desired by the Empress Maria Theresa of Austria, the University of Pavia became one the most advanced scientific centres in Europe-back the original nuclei of the main collections, the physics section, raccoltasi around the old instruments laboratory of Alessandro Volta, and the section of medicine, heir of anatomical collections that Antonio Scarpa had organized their own premises which currently house the Museum.
In the medical section, divided into three rooms, are preserved and prepared instruments that refer to the activity of the anatomic School of Antonio Scarpa and the natural history Museum of Lazzaro Spallanzani, both arrived in Pavia in the late 18th century, progress in the field of surgery and the clinic through the 19th and 20th centuries, with figures like Luigi Porta and Carlo Forlanini , and the activity of scientific school founded by Camillo Golgi, the first Italian to win – in – the 1906 Nobel Prize for medicine through the development of a histological method which laid the foundations of modern neuroscience
In the physics section was reconstructed the Cabinet of physics by Alessandro Volta, which was originally on the first floor, facing the portico, in the premises adjacent to the physical theatre.
Under the direction of Time, beginning in 1778, the Cabinet was equipped with new tools for teaching and research and became a admired by numerous Italian and foreign visitors. A second room accommodates the tools used by the successors of Time during the 19th century.
The Museum also maintains an archive that covers a chronological period from the early 15th to the 20th century. The documentation, particularly with regard to the history of medicine, constitutes an important integration than preserved at the Archivio di Stato di Pavia (University Archives) and the historical archive of the University.