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EXHIBITIONS

FROM DECEMBER 1ST 2012 TO MARCH 3TH 2013

Carlo Erba. Innovation in the pharmaceutical sector

The fascinating story that transformed a profession.


An exhibition which portrays the history of the founder of the first pharmaceutical company in Italy, outlining the evolution of the pharmacist’s role.


Carlo Erba
Archivio Carlo Erba, Centro per la cultura d’impresa di Milano

The exhibition “Carlo Erba. Innovation in the pharmaceutical sector – The fascinating story that transformed a profession” was designed and created by Museo Nazionale della Scienza e della Tecnologia Leonardo da Vinci. Portraying the history and the company, the display takes visitors on an original trip through some of the fundamental stages of Italy’s pharmaceutical industry and the milestones in the evolution of the pharmacist’s role to date.

The exhibition is focused on the story of a young man belonging to a family of “apothecarists” from Lombardy that created a small family business from nothing. This was the hallmark of Italy’s industrial development in the 19th century. A personal 50-year adventure, which marked the transition from the 19th century’s pharmacy to the great industry. It all began in 1837 when young Carlo Erba, after obtaining a degree in Pharmaceutics at Pavia University, decided to start his own company and created Italy’s first pharmaceutical industry, in the small laboratory of his pharmacy located in the ancient Milanese district of Brera. It would then develop through the years with laboratories, shops, factories and hundreds of employees.


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Advertisement posters. Archivio Carlo Erba, Fondo Pighini, Centro per la cultura d’impresa di Milano

Other contemporary artists are giving an important contribution to the interpretation of Assassin’s Creed’s cultural richness.
Massimo Giuntoli with his work Osmosi brings new life to the videos of the saga through an architectural model of lights. Samuele Arcangioli designed and realized the Macchina dei ritratti, a 4 meters long room where the public encounters the different identities of the main characters in the series.
Edward Paul Quist, an artist from Brooklyn, specifically offered a work from his recent research on genetic code, with a video strongly connected to the protagonist’s emotions within the Animus.

Reserach laboratory at Carlo Erba factories in Milan
Archivio Carlo Erba, fondo Pighini. Centro per la cultura d’impresa di Milano
A trip in which history and emotions lead a path through 5 thematic areas, where visitors will be able to discover historic objects, original documents, footages, interviews, also including several unreleased materials from Carlo Erba Archive, safeguarded by Centro per la cultura d’impresa.
The “exhibiting spot” An idea for Milan depicts the figure of Carlo Erba under different points of view, a history which has a deep connection with the ones of Milan’s and of Italy’s industrialisation process. The pill factory enables visitors to go through some of the stages which have made pharmaceutical industry as we know it nowadays, thanks to the Carlo Erba’s competence and insight, since he was one of the first to transform a traditional laboratory in a successful industry.
The risks of benefit explores the way in which, through the course of the centuries, it was possible to understand how medications work and how to create them, a complex process which was revolutionised by the development of chemistry at the end of the 18th century, and which was responsible for the creation of medicines as we know them today. A life behind the counter introduces the figures of real pharmacists that everyone may happen to meet, thanks to the “kaleidoscopic” photo reportage by Alessandro Albert and Paolo Verzone and the video-installation “the pharmacists’ leaflet”, which explains “who is” and “what is the task” of a pharmacist. Last but not least, the thematic area A smile for science showcases some successful communication campaigns for several products by Carlo Erba. Sometimes they also became a hallmark in the history of lifestyle. This is the case of the beauty pageant “Five thousand lire for a smile”, which later became the Miss Italia pageant. Today in pharmacies it is also possible to purchase food, cosmetics and beauty items. However, already by the end of the 19th century, companies like Carlo Erba’s industry were putting on the market dieting and health products with the “guarantee” of the pharmaceutical label, starting from the production chain of medications and from its standards of hygiene, safety and control.

Advertisement sheet of the tamarind drink by Erba
Archivio Carlo Erba, fondo Pighini, Centro per la cultura d’impresa di Milano The exhibition also reveals the transformations in the profession of pharmacist, which today plays a central role in more and more contexts, but without leaving the fundamental and traditional role of mediator between the people and medications. The exhibition becomes a unique occasion to better understand the work and the fascinating world of the professionals wearing white gowns and standing behind a counter.

The admission to the Museum and to the exhibition is free for all pharmacists and for another person accompanying them, upon showing a profession ID badge. For all other visitors, the visit to the exhibition is included in the Museum admission fee.





Information

Where
Via San Vittore 21, Milano

When
From December 1st 2012
to March 3rd 2013

Opening times
The exhibition is opened to visitors during the same opening times of the museum. Go to the opening hours page.

The admission to the Museum and to the exhibition is free for all pharmacists and for another person accompanying them, upon showing a profession ID badge. For all other visitors, the visit to the exhibition is included in the Museum admission fee. ( Museum entry cost).

We wish to thank for the loans:

Centro per la cultura d’impresa
Biblioteca Nazionale Braidense
Politecnico di Milano
Museo della Farmacia di Bressanone
Archivio Storico Luce
Fondazione Luigi Micheletti
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