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Virtual exhibitions

In this section we present some virtual exhibitions and on-line thematic routes based on Phaidra digital collections. The exhibitions are realised with MOVIO, an open source kit for staging virtual online exhibitions developed by the Istituto centrale per il catalogo unico delle biblioteche italiane (ICCU).


The people and technology belonging to the history of photography in the digital collections of Phaidra. The aim of the exhibition is to pass on and promote the visual memories represented in the photography collections of Phaidra, by presenting these collections, carrying out research on the technical, physical, and chemical aspects that contribute to the creation of photographic images, and describing the digitalisation process that allows us to make photographs available to a large audience. The photography collections come from the University of Padova, the Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, and the IUAV University of Venice.


  • Images and prehistory
    Prehistoric animals and landscapes seen through the eyes of the 19th and 20th century scholars.

Prehistoric animals and landscapes seen through the eyes of 19th and 20th century scholars. Between 1800 and 1900, illustrations became an extremely popular tool in teaching. This universal means of communication, used in various fields of study and for different proficiency levels, quickly established itself as a teaching method for the masses. The University of Padova holds a few collections of wall charts, photographs, and illustrated books that are evidence of the importance that scholars at the time attributed to using images to communicate science to their colleagues and students.


The zoological wall charts belong to the remarkable collection of the University of Padova’s Biology Department and are kept in the “Complesso Vallisneri” Library. These illustrations are also used as mural boards, illustrated charts, educational posters or, quite simply, as decorative posters. This type of representation, strictly scientific and embellished with relevant artistic features, was used as far back as the 16th century until around the end of the 1800s and the beginning of the 1900s.


The aim of the exhibition is to give an overview of the various aspects of botanical illustration (history, evolution, techniques...) through the presentation of some of the most beautiful illustrated books kept at the Library of the Botanical Garden of the University of Padova. The library has a collection holding thousands of ancient and modern volumes, mostly dedicated to botany, plants and gardens, which is obviously not feasible to present in its entirety in this exhibition. The choice was made, therefore, to select the illustrated books that seem the most significant in view of the exhibition’s purpose: books made in different centuries (fifteenth to nineteenth centuries), using various printing techniques and created for different purposes.

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