Recollecting the “prodotti vegetali” of the Natural History Museum, University of Florence



A historical perspective is important to fostering relational knowledge and responsible use of plants in entangled local-global trajectories. This article traces the history of the nineteenth-century economic- botany collection originally displayed as the “‘prodotti vegetali”’ in the Royal Museum of Physics and Natural History, Florence (now the Botanical Section of the University of Florence Natural History Museum).

Author Biography

Anna Svensson, Independent scholar

Anna Svensson recently defended her thesis, “A Utopian Quest for Universal Knowledge: Diachronic Histories of Botanical Collections between the Sixteenth Century and the Present,” at the Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm. With a background in English literature (BA Oxford) and international museum studies (MSc University of Gothenburg), she explores how the worlds of people and plants mutually shape each other, drawing on a range of perspectives including the history of science, museology, environmental humanities, and book history. Increasingly, she is putting traditional scholarship into conversation with practice-based approaches such as floristry and natural dyeing.

Display of museum objects.