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M(UV)HN. MUSEUM OF THE UNIVERSITAT DE VALÈNCIA:
Natural History

Campus Burjassot - Paterna

Dr. Moliner, 50. Burjassot

Tran: Vicent Andrés Estellés (Línia 4) and EMT (Line 63)

Timetable: from Monday to Friday, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Saturday, from 10:00 a.m. to 14:00 p.m. and from 16:00 p.m. to 19:00 p.m.

Saturday, February 24 from 10:00 a.m. to 14:00 p.m. to 14:00 p.m.

Sunday, from 10:00 a.m. to 14:00 p.am

 
 
 
 
 
 
Pterosaurio. Tropeognathus. © Miguel Lorenzo
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Organised by:
 
 
Universitat de València
Vicerectorat de Cultura i Igualtat
 
Sponsored by:
 
 
 
 
 
Generalitat Valenciana
Conselleria d'Educació, Investigació, Cultura i Esports:
Direcció General de Cultura i Patrimoni
Secretaria d'Educació i Investigació
Diputació de València
 
In cooperation with:
 
Fundació General de la Universitat de València
 
Director: Anna María García Forner 

 

 

 

 

 

The Museum of the UV: Natural History -M(UV)HN- is a new facility located in one campus of the UV that was born with the purpose of gathering in a single place the most relevant elements of its 32 scientific collections with hundreds and thousands of samples, offering an intangible cultural and scientific heritage to the Valencian society. In addition, the M (UV) HN becomes a research and training space for the university community and the general public.

The Museum, which has the sponsorship of the Generalitat Valenciana, the Provincial Council of Valencia, the Ministry of Education, Research, Culture and Sports (General Directorate of Culture and Heritage and the Ministry of Education and Research), and the collaboration of the General Foundation of the Universitat de València, is located in the dependencies of one of the general services buildings of the Burjassot campus that has been conditioned for such use.

Most of the funds are provided by the Geology Museum of the University, located, to date, in the facilities of the Faculty of Biology Burjassot campus, which was recognized as a Museum by the Generalitat Valenciana in 1996. Some of these copies were part of the Cabinet or Museum of Natural History of the University of Valencia, which housed the scientific heritage of the University from the second half of the nineteenth century until a devastating fire in May 1932 completely, destroyed it, ending with much of the collections.
 
 
 
 
 
Spotted eagle or clanga (Aquila clanga ). Taxidermy specimen by Jose Maria Benedito in 1885.
It is a sporadic species in our territory, of which there are records of very few specimens. © Miguel Lorenzo
 
 
 
 
 
The Museum of Natural History of the University of Valencia of 1932 was the second heritage and scientific center of Spain (only behind the National Museum of Natural Sciences of Madrid) was located on the main floor of the south wing of the historic building of the University, current Center Cultural La Nau. From that catastrophe, only some zoological and botanical specimens that the University had been collecting over five centuries could be rescued, but the geological and paleontological funds were lost. The taxidermy zoological specimens are now exhibited in the zoology room of the new museum.
 
With an area of ​​more than 900 m2, the building consists of two floors serving the three basic principles of a museum: exhibition, teaching and research. On the ground floor, permanent and specialized exhibitions are presented in three spaces.
 
 
 
 
 
Taxidermy vertebrates belonging to the historical collection of the Universitat de València © Miguel Lorenzo
 
 
 
 
 
 
First, there is the entrance hall, where one of the emblematic pieces is found, the reconstruction of a pterosaur, one of the first vertebrates to conquer the air and of which the University preserves original remains, from which it has been reconstructed and modeled this skeleton. This space will be used for temporary exhibitions. 

On the left wing is the zoology room, which contains the historical collection of taxidermy animals, mainly birds. These collections are exhibited in the original showcases rescued from the fire and that have been restored and conditioned to accommodate the dried specimens again. In the same room you can also see several skeletons of animals made mostly as teaching and serve as examples of comparison. 

On the right wing is the geology and paleontology exhibition room. The visit to this room is a trip to the history of the Earth and of life. Inside this room there is an enclosure where you can visit "the meteorite" learn what they are and the importance of their study, in an informative environment through various projections and a large touch screen with which the public can impact their own meteors. The exhibition of fossils is located in original furniture, also restored and that will allow to understand what fossils are, how they were formed and what is the importance of their study. All this through the temporal journey from the origin of life about 4,000 million years ago to today. Within the same room, you can also visit different collections of minerals and rocks, organized in a didactic way, as well as a showcase with fluorescent minerals.
 
 
 
 
 
Ammonoid fossils © Miguel Lorenzo
 
 
 
 
 
The laboratory section (for conservation and research), is composed of four rooms. On the ground floor there is a laboratory for the restoration and preparation of paleontological materials, visible to the public from the entrance. The other three laboratories are located on the upper floor: a laboratory for making molds and replicas, a laboratory for biological restoration and preparation and a laboratory for industrial rocks and minerals. All these laboratories have safety and prevention measures. 

The deposit areas (warehouse) of the unexposed funds are located according to your needs. Thus, the ‘Litoteca’ houses the geological and paleontological specimens. Due to the weight and volume they occupy, they are located on the ground floor, where there is also direct access from the outside for large loads. This room has been equipped with compact cabinets that allow a great use of space, so necessary in these institutions. The biological materials warehouse ‘ Bioteca ‘ is located on the first floor, in front of the biological laboratory, thus facilitating the transfer of the specimens, it also has a direct entrance from the outside (through a forklift) and also has two cameras climatic conservation and quarantine. All these rooms have adequate environmental measures for the funds they house.
 
On the first floor, there are also the corresponding offices and work areas of the study and research office, as well as the training room. The latter is a large space equipped with versatile furniture and state-of-the-art equipment prepared to be able to give teaching workshops (magnifying glasses, computer microscopes, etc.), as well as training courses, both in person and by telepresence through a large projection screen . Its use can be used both for students of various levels of primary and secondary education and for training and retraining of teachers and other groups.
 
The Museum also extends through the exterior of the building with a didactic route through a botanical didactic garden and a geological garden. The latter, is starting at this time and to date is composed of three representative rocks of the Valencian Community. The first of them, donated by the company Mármoles Coto SL (Alicante), is a limestone rock formed in a shallow marine platform during the lower-middle Eocene (approximately 45-50 million years) from remains of skeletons (shells and carapace) of microorganisms bound by a calcareous cement. This marble comes from the Monte Coto Pinoso deposit (Pinoso, Alicante), which is exploited to obtain ivory cream marble. This marble quarry is the largest in Europe with a maximum production of 500,000 cubic meters per year.
 
 
 
 
 
Exterior of the M(UV)HN © Miguel Lorenzo
 
 
 
 

The second rock is a microcrystalline limestone constituted mainly by calcite and some dolomite, and has finely dispersed organic matter that colors the material in a gray tone. The rock belongs to the Formation Limestones and Dolomites of Cuevas Labradas (Jurassic) of the quarry Salto del Caballo (Almenara, Castellón). This sample has been donated by courtesy of Lafarge - Holcim, factory of Sagunto. The third sample is a plaster. It is an example of sedimentary rock of chemical origin, formed by precipitation of a sulphated brine. It comes from the Yesos de Ayora Formation (upper part of the Valencia Group, from the Upper Triassic between 237 and 208 million years ago) in one of the quarries operated by Saint Gobain Placo Ibérica SA, in Soneja (Castellón) for whom it has been Donated The activity of these quarries goes back to Roman times.
 
The Museum of the Universitat de València: Natural History aims to give space and entity to the diversity of the goods that are guarded, and beyond sheltering collections, becoming a center of documentation and scientific and technical information, both for the general public and for the specialists; creating an appropriate space for meetings, conferences, colloquiums and debates on current scientific topics. To be a space for cultural and scientific diffusion and diffusion through the updating and use of new technologies, which incites curiosity and promotes the exploration and learning of visitors of all ages. 
 
 
 
 
 
Osteology © Miguel Lorenzo
 
 
 
 
 

The most emblematic pieces of the exhibition

Among the emblematic pieces of the Museum, a meteorite stands out. It is the meteorite officially named ‘Valencia’, with a weight of 33.5 kg and dimensions of 37 x 24.5 x 19.5 cm and with an age of training close to 4,600 million years.

Geochemically, ‘Valencia’ is classified as a condrite type H5 (rocky meteorite rich in silicate) and is part of the collection of rocks of the Department of Geology of the University of Valencia.  The Meteorite Nomenclature Committee of the NASA Meteorological Society approved in 1997, Valencia as a meteorite. Despite being one of the few meteorites in Spain authenticated in the last 100 years, the historical documents that could have shed light on the exact location and date of its fall were destroyed by a fire that destroyed most of the University of Valencia in 1932, so its origin is unknown.

The study of the chondritic meteorites provides important keys to understand the origin and age of the Solar System, the synthesis of organic compounds, the origin of life or the presence of water in the planets of the solar system. The international approval of the Valencia meteorite has also renewed interest in meteorite research in Spain. This new unique piece of scientific and geological heritage can now be seen in a room specially designed for observation in the M(UV)HN.

Another of the fundamental pieces is a reconstruction of a pterosaur, one of the first vertebrates to conquer the air in the Mesozoic Era (228 to 66 million years ago). The Universitat keeps in this museum fossils of this species and thanks to the augmented reality the public will be able to observe the aspect and flight of this singular reptile. Although they resemble each other, the pterosaurs were not dinosaurs, although they did live with them for tens of millions of years. 
 
Pterosaurs are a fascinating group of vertebrates.  Unlike dinosaurs, although closely related to them, they were the first vertebrates to develop the ability to fly actively to fly actively and dominated the skies during the Mesozoic Era, long before birds. Tropeognathus is one of the largest known pterosaurs to date. With a way of life closely linked to the sea, Tropeognathus sailed the skies of the nascent Atlantic Ocean between 115 and 100 million years ago, during the Lower Cretaceous. Planned on the surface of the water with the help of its extensive wings, it hovered over its prey, capturing it from the air with its great jaws topped by two crests and sown with tapered and sharp teeth.
 
 
 
 
 
Esquelet of Pterosaur. Tropeognathus. © Miguel Lorenzo
 
 
 
 
 

In the Museu de la Universitat de València: Història Natural M(UV)HNN, Tropeognathus has been brought back to life. The new mobile application developed by the M(UV)HNN will provide the public with an amazing virtual experience, while introducing them to the extraordinary group of pterosaurs. With the sole help of a smartphone, the people who visit the facility will be direct witnesses of the sequential reconstruction of Tropeognathus: its skeleton, its musculature and even its skin and external appearance. Once returned to life thanks to virtual reality, Tropeognathus will start the flight leaving the museum and entering its Mesozoic habitat.

In the museum are also deposited several tracks of primitive turtle of the Upper Triassic that a team of Paleontologists of the University of Valencia has discovered in three outcrops in the province of Valencia, specifically in the municipalities of Domeño, Quesa and Cortes de Pallás. This finding is one of the oldest records of these vertebrates in the world, since the records go back to more than 227 million years ago, and it extends the knowledge about the evolution and diversification of the group in relation to the aquatic environment.
 
The fossil collections are mainly composed of specimens from excavations and also (although to a lesser extent) donations, legacies and seizures. It is a material of great scientific value (several type species are guarded, and several dozens of them are part of the 'Tipoteca') and are the subject of research and high-impact scientific publications, to name a few. Some of them: the jaw of an Hadrosaur (Dinosaurio Pico de Pato), remains of Pterosaur, turtle tracks (the oldest found to date in Spain), remains of marsupials, saber-toothed tigers, camels, rhinos, amber, fish and insects extraordinarily fossilized, etc. 
 
 
 
 
 
Valencia Meteorite © Miguel Lorenzo
 
 
 
 
 
This scientific collection constitutes a huge cultural heritage, since some of these pieces dates from the end of the 19th century (before the fire).
 
Regarding the current zoological groups, it stands out the collection of taxidermy historical birds. These diverse species (currently rare) from the second half of the 19th century - Egyptian Vulture, Bonelli’s eagle, two golden eagles, etc. - or at the beginning of the 20th century - Iberian imperial eagle, whooper swan, taiga bean goose, bearded vulture, etc. These specimens are the oldest ones of the collection and survived the fire in 1932. Among them, should be highlighted:
 
The cinereous vulture (Aegypius monachus). This specimen is mentioned in 1916 by Antimo Bosca as “Vultur inonachus L. Buitre negro; although stranger, it still exists a splendid stuffed male specimen at the collection of the University...”
 
Bearded vulture (Gypaetus barbatus). This species was already are at the beginning of the 20th centry (Boscá, 1916) and in the same work of this Valencian author is mentioned the presence of these two specimens at the Cabinet of the University. Currently, this species is extincted in most part of Spain, but it still lives and procrates at the Pyrenees, although some specimens can be observed flying over the Iberian Peninsula.
 
Besides, at the museum can be contemplated some stones and minerals, some of them representative of the mineral wealth of the Valencian Community. Sedimentary structures, collections of scientific tools and palaeontologic collections configure the largest collections of the museum. It highlights a glass cabinet with fluorescent minerals.
 
 
 
 
 
Collection of scientific tools, Telurio planetario © Miguel Lorenzo
 
 
 
 
 

The museum custodies a copy of the device built by the University in tribute to Stanley Miller. He implemented a scientific theory promoted by his mentor, Harold Urey, who won a Nobel prize in Chemistry. He proved that organic compounds are formed spontaneosly in the conditions provided by the primitive Earth. To recreate this process in the laboratory, Miller designed an aireless closed-circuit imitating the prebiotic Earth. This piece is a reconstruction of the mentioned device and preserves the original signature of Stanley Miller.
 

Non-exhibited specimens

Being a university museum, the specimens on display are a minimal fraction of the real quantity of specimens belonging to the institution.
 
In general and citing some expamples, the palaeontological collections of the M(UV)HN have an important scientific value and have increased their value due to the continuous researchs carried out by the teaching and researching staff of the university. The specimens coming from these excavations are legally deposited at the University -now in this new facility- , which allows guaranteeing their preservation and boosts the access to the scientific community. In this way, the researching staff of the University benefitiates from the study of these specimens, which is not drawn out by burocratic tramits which would be caused if these collections were deposited in other non-academic institutions.
 
 
 
 
 
Tridaena of the Natural Sciences collections Father Ignacio Sala © Miguel Lorenzo
 
 
 
 
 

Under the scientific viewpoint, the most valuable material placed at the Tipoteca. It is a space conditioned following special security measures regarding the environment and avoiding intrusion. Here are placed the pieces of the Type Series -along with the pertinent documentation-, which must be guarded with special care and at the same time capable of allowing their study.
 
The collections coming from the old Museum of Natural Sciences from the Father Ignacio Sala (Jesuitas) have just been incorporated to these facilities. There are more than 16,000 specimens including stuffed plants and animals, a variety of teaching models, stones, minerals, etc. They are at the inventory and preparation stage
 

Precedents

The Universitat de València has a rich scientific and cultural heritage contained in diverse collections, which go from museum institutions oficially recognised to collections created and used mainly in researching and teaching. This heritage is associated to its own history and it is displayed through several centres. Not for nothing, the Cabinet or Natural History Museum of the Universitat de València, founded in the mid-19th century, was the second largest cultural and scientific centre of the country, only after the National Museum of Natural Sciences in Madrid. The Natural History Cabinet remained active and enriched its collections until on May 12th, 1932 a fired devastated most part of the collections. 

The compromise of the University with its heritage is reflected in the acknowledgement of these collections. Such is the case of the Geology Museum of the Universitat de València, museum centre officially recognised by the regional administration (resolution 26/02/1996, DOGV 2.742) and by the Universitat de València as an university museum. It is the first university museum recognised within this category in Spain.
 
 
 
 
 
Natural Sciences collections Father Ignacio Sala. Insects. Coleoptera © Miguel Lorenzo
 
 
 
 
 
In this sense, the Geology Museum of the Universitat de València (MGUV) from its origins, but especially from its recognition as a university museum, turned into the Official Centre for the storing of geological and palaeontological movable property and other elements related to Science and Natural History. As a consequence, the scientific and cultural heritage of the University has increased continuously during the last years.

The pieces placed in this centre are currently more heterogeneous in procedence and composition, for which the description of its collections is closer to a wider definition, more similar to a Natural History Museum.

This is the reason why the Universitat de València promoted the initiative of gathering all these collections in an only space, taking advantage and optimising the resources. In this way, the Geology Museum of the Universitat de València was reconverted into museum of the Universitat de València: Natural History, on the part of the Universitat de València (Consell de Govern Agreement of the Universitat de València, 22 December 2016), as on the part of the Department of Education, Research, Culture and Sport of the Valencian Government (resolution 12 April 2017). 
 
 
 
 
 
Carpoespermateca Collection. Seeds and fruits (seed pods) from different species © Miguel Lorenzo
 
 
 
 
 

32 collections

Until now, the Universitat de València holds 32 collections of Natural History. All of them belong to the Universitat de València and are placed on different facilities, provided that they are “alive” collections resulting from researchs preserved and kept in appropriate conditions.
 
BOTANY 
01. Living Plants Collection
02. Herbarium Vascular Plants Collection (VAL)
03. Microalgae Symbionts of Lichens
04. Herbal Algae  (VAL_Algae)
05. Fungi Collection (VAL-Myco)
06. Liquens Collection (VAL-Lich)
07. Bryophyte Herbarium (VAL-Brio)
08. Germplasm Bank Collection
09. Carpoespermateca Collection
10. Teaching garden
11. Histology and Vegetal Anatomy Collection
 
GEOLOGY AND PALAEONTOLOGY
01. Micropalaeontology collections
02. Cenozoic continental vertebrates collection
03. Non-mammals fossil vertebrates
04. Triassic collection
05. Fossils from the Spanish Devonian
06. Geology and palaeontology legacy
07. Teaching collections
08. Minerals and industrial rocks 
09. Old Geology Museum
 
ZOOLOGY
01. Entomology collection
02. Nematology collection
03. Teaching Department collection
04. Historical collection
05. Marine Zoology Unit collection
06. Terrestrial Helminthology collection
07. Marine Biology collections
 
OTHER COLLECTIONS
01. Natural Sciences collections, Father Ignacio Sala S.J.
02. Scientific tools collection
03. Museum collection of the Astronomical Observatory
04. Spanish crops type collection
05. Donations and legacy
 
 

Accessible museum

The university inaugurates at Burjassot the Natural History Museum, with geological and zoological collections accessible to people with functional diversity, elaborated in collaboration with Feedback Cultural. This is the first museum born as an inclusive project, having within its objectives the aim of continuous improvement, the capacity of developing and being accessible and at the service of all citizens.

The APP. The university inaugurates at Burjassot the Natural History Museum, with geological and zoological collections accessible to people with functional diversity, elaborated in collaboration with Feedback Cultural. This is the first museum born as an inclusive project, having within its objectives the aim of continuous improvement, the capacity of developing and being accessible and at the service of all citizens. 
 
Since collections are temporary, audio-guide contents are not definitive and can evolve: we expect to receive school and high school groups and other visitants groups, who will provide their experience to the visit and contribute to a better adaptation of the museum. 
 
 

Objectives

The M(UV)HN has the following objectives: 
Gathering into an adequate place the most relevant elements of its 32 scientific collections with hundreds of thousands of specimens and offering this huge cultural and scientific heritage to the Valencian society. One of the strengths of a university museum is the fact that the collections are of great scientific value, as they constitute the base for researchers’ scientific publications.
 
In this sense, the M(UV)HN is a formative space for diverse addresses: university community, teaching community, etc. Itinerant exhibitions of different topics will be brought to our territory and prepared according to teachers and local cultural centres.
 
The M(UV)HN will be a research area. Provided the connection with the departments of Biology, Zoology, Botany and Geology, etc., the M(UV)HN has the best researching staff in natural history of all the Valencian Community, who participate not only in regional researches, but national and international. By means of research, an update and a constant renovation of knowledge is produced. It also helps to resolve relevant problems.
 
The M(UV)HN, still working on the activities which used to develop in the former Geology Museum, will be preserved as a reference centre for the PRESERVATION AND RESTORATION of all specimens kept in the museum. The collections of the museum, being a “Reference Library of Life and Earth”, shall be preserved and adequately managed - preservation, restoration, inventory, etc.
 
The M(UV)HN is a space of dissemination and territorial repercussion. The organization of temporary and itinerant exhibitions shall provide the dissemination of rigorous knowledge to the society. This programme shall develop especially thanks to the collaboration of the Valencian Regional Government (Generalitat Valenciana y Diputación de València).
 
Counselling and creation of teaching resources - such as collections for teaching centres, originals and copies, for hire or permanent.
 
The museum activity shall spread through the organization of seminaries, conferences, meetings, debates, which allow the scientific transmission to society.
 
The M(UV)HN shall collaborate with other competent and interested institutions through the Collections Network of Palaeontology. This collaboration will have a special relation with the Príncipe Felipe Sciences Museum, along with other specialized museums and with Valencian institutions.
 
It shall also be a consultant for the development of new museum projects or collections along the territory, collaborating with local (Councils, Provincial Government) and regional (Valencian Regional Government, Generalitat Valenciana) institutions.
 
It shall be a Consultant and Counselling Centre regarding Natural Heritage and Environmental Impact for the public and security administrations - environmental impact informs heritage confiscation.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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