How does a drop of water transform into electric power? The high halls of Cedegolo's historical Museum of Hydroelectric Power, bathed in light, offer answers that affect all senses. The experience starts with the sphere's room: A double video projection on opposing semispheres follows a drop's journey through clouds, storms, and rain until it joins a stream and flows into a river. The next exhibition unit features a curved surface recalling the shape of dikes and dams. Once again based on videos and projections, this section tells the story of large civil engineering works like reservoirs, canals, and hydroelectric plants. While crossing a passable penstock the visitor himself becomes a drop of water, surrounded by the roaring sound of cascading water. At the end of the pipe he finds himself facing two massive waterwheel-alternators built in 1903. Thanks to transparent video screens and animated cartoons he can explore the interior of the machines and watch a water stream transforming into electric power. At the end of the tour there is the "Tree of Electricity", formed by a group of historic pylons under a voluminous spark made of bright shafts. If there are still any questions left the "electric bar", equipped with multimedia desks, has abundant visual aids to share.
This is a veritable celebration of technology. Especially the former machine hall with its row of high windows attracts attention from afar. Only on closer inspection the building reveals ornamental mouldings and cornices adding a touch of festiveness to the predominantly straight architecture. The creator of this uncommon combination of modernism and classicism was the architect Egidio Dabbeni. Monumental size and representative character of his design evoke the work of Peter Behrens and other leading figures of early 20th century industrial architecture.
The hydroelectric plant of Cedegolo was built in 1909/10 as new headquarter of the regional electricity company Società Elettrica Bresciana (SEB). The site took advantage of the water gradient of the river Oglio in central Valcamonica. The plant operated until 1962 and after that served as a warehouse for the hydroelectric system of the valley. Its conversion went with a complete dismantling of the machinery. Thus the alternators shown in the museum are not the originals but come very close to them: they represent the same makes and types characteristic of the region and taken from power plants nearby.
Today Cedegolo is one of the most significant examples of a certain type of hydroelectric power stations that spread in Northern Italy at the beginning of the 20th century. The careful restoration took full account of the original building. Manifold multimedia features enable visitors to get deep insights into the technical functionality of a hydroelectric plant and the special circumstances of power generation in Italy's Alpine region. The Museum of Industry and Labour (Musil), an association of a couple of museums based in the region, connects Cedegolo with a comprehensive collection of industrial machinery in Rodengo Saiano, the Museum of Iron in Brescia, and the designated Musil headquarter also located in Brescia.
|Recommended duration of visit:||1 Hours|
|Duration of a guided tour:||90 Minutes|
|Access for persons with disabilities:||Available|
|Infrastructure for children:|
|Gift and book shop on site:||yes|
April to June and September to November:
Friday - Sunday 2-6pm
Thursday - Sunday 2-7pm