The museum of electrical technology was established in 2000 as a joint enterprise of the University of Pavia and local, regional and provincial government authorities. It is one of nine museums that came together as the University Museum System of Padua in 2005. The museum tells the story of electrical technology and of the ways in which it affects every aspect of daily life in the twenty-first century. It is appropriate that such a museum should be located in Pavia where Alessandro Volta (1745-1827), inventor of electric batteries, was a professor at the university for more than 40 years.
The museum’s displays are divided into five chronological sections. The first shows how people came to understand electricity, with the first telegraphs, batteries and electric motors. The role of Alessandro Volta is fully explained. The section part shows developments in the late nineteenth century, with the first power stations, the development of transmission systems, and the application of electric motors to street tramways and other purposes. The third and fourth sections illustrates the spread of electrical technology into every aspect of daily life through the twentieth century, when electric lighting in the home became almost universal in Europe, most machines in factories were worked by electric motors, and electricity made possible advances in communication such as radio, television and telephones, ending with the mobile phone and the personal computer. The final displays raise questions about the future. The museum is particularly concerned, at a time when products are rapidly changed and updated, and when consumers are faced with cascades of innovations, that every significant development should be represented in its collections.