The National Museum of Health-Care Art is located in the Hospital S. Spirito.
The construction of the Hospital was started by Pope Innocent III in 1198; in 1471 it was destroyed by a fire and then rebuilt by Pope Sixtus IV; it has been subsequently modified several times over the centuries.
The initial collection of the Museum consisted of various objects gathered in Castel S. Angelo and was assembled on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the establishment of the Italian Republic in 1911 at which time the collection needed a stable location.
The exhibition of the collection is distributed in nine large Halls; the largest of which is the Alexandrine Hall also know as “The little hospital of the wounded”. The Alexandrine Hall has been used ad the Aula Magna since 1971 and can seat around 200 people. On its walls are displayed anatomical figures by Paolo Mascagni (1752-1815) as well as oil paintings by Guglielmo Riva (1626-77), a famous anatomist and surgeon of the Roman Hospital of the Consolation. On the staircase there are busts of physicists, of which the most prominent is that of Hippocrates.
The first room (Sala Flajani) constitutes a collection of obstetric anatomical wax models and anatomical preparations. In the center of this room there are the apparati referred to ad the “cassapanca” and the “little temple” (tempietto) used for the preparation of chinino, a remedy against malaria.
The Capparoni Room exhibits a magnificent collection of various object donated by professor Capparoni the last century, such as an important series of Roman and Etruscan anatomical votive offering; surgical instruments from Roman, medieval, renaissance instrumentation, etc. There is also a noteworthy collection of glass and ceramics containers for la preservation of medicine.
The Carbonelli Hall exhibits an important collection of surgical instruments including drills, specula, etc. A window display containing a collection of microscopes of different shapes and of various ages (from the XVII to the XIX century). In the center of the Hall is the wooden reproduction of the famous Sistine ward, a primitive model of the Hospital of the S. Spirito. The Hall also hosts the original desk used by Giovanni Maria Lancisi and is successors from which the gave medical lectures to the staff of the Hospital. Several certificates of degree, health care editcts, etc. are in the widows. On the surrounding walls appear paintings from the XVII century to the present, displaying medical subjects and several prints by prominent physicists.
The Museum also features unique reconstructions of an ancient pharmacy from the XVII century and a chemical-alchemistic laboratory of the same age.
The artistic assets of the Museum are complemented by a splendid library with authentic XVI century walnut shelves containing more than 10.000 books, pamphlets, reviews, and prints pertaining to health-care history and art.