Ulisse Aldrovandi (Bologna, 1522-1605) is considered the founder of modern Natural History.
His Storia Naturale, a 13 volume printed work, was conceived as the most complete description of the three kingdoms of nature - mineral, vegetable and animal - available at that time. The design and organization of the museum, as a theatre or "microcosm of nature" in Aldrovandi’s own home was the result of a network of contacts Aldrovandi had in the regions of the Old and the New World.
Nearing the time of his death, he proudly stated that his home held a collection of 18,000 “different natural things” and 7000 dried plants displayed in fifteen volumes. The seventeen volumes with drawings of animals, plants, minerals and monstrosities were an integral part of the museum as were the fourteen cabinets, the Pinachoteche, containing the wood blocks used for the illustrations of the printed volumes.
In 1617 the museum was moved to the Palazzo Pubblico where it stayed until 1742, when it was transferred to the rooms of the Istituto delle scienze in Palazzo Poggi. In the course of the nineteen century the collections was largely broken up but, in 1907, portions of the collections were restored to their current location.