via Col di Lana 7/N
In the immediate outskirts of Bologna, two vast rooms on the ground floor of an apartment building host the over 2,000 original, functioning items of the collection that Giovanni Pelagalli – an entrepreneur, ham radio enthusiast, Knight of the Italian Republic, and amateur magician under the name Mister Shadow – dedicated to the history of communications and multimedia.
The exhibits are organized in various sections, each documenting a specific aspect of technical and scientific evolution. They begin with sound reproduction, with Thomas Alva Edison’s system to record sound on a tin foil sheet, and with numerous examples of phonographs and gramophones, and move to telephony, with Antonio Meucci’s telephone patented in 1871, and wood hand-cranked telephones from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
There is also extensive material on the history of radio (from a naval radio-telegraph station from the early 20th century to “modern” transistors); the evolution of cinema from the magic lanterns of the mid-19th century to post-WWII projectors and cine-projectors; and the history of television, with items on display including John Baird’s first experimental radiovisor, built in the 1920s and precursor to the cathode-ray tube.
The museum also features a selection of mechanical music machines from the 18th and 19th centuries, and two sections dedicated respectively to Guglielmo Marconi and the brothers Bruno, Adriano, and Marcello Ducati, who founded the Bologna-based company that bears their family name, and which was initially specialized in manufacturing radio equipment and in fine mechanics.