Science

The Shit Museum offers a sustainable view on the science and art of dung

Castelbosco in Northern Italy is home to The Shit Museum
Castelbosco in Northern Italy is home to The Shit Museum
View 14 Images
The biogass facility on the dairy farm that provides electricity for the Museo della Merda
1/14
The biogass facility on the dairy farm that provides electricity for the Museo della Merda
Water pipes along the window heat the facility from energy produced by the biogass facility
2/14
Water pipes along the window heat the facility from energy produced by the biogass facility
Biogass facility at the Museo della Merda converts dairy farm waste to electricity
3/14
Biogass facility at the Museo della Merda converts dairy farm waste to electricity
Some of the displays at The Shit Museum in Northern Italy
4/14
Some of the displays at The Shit Museum in Northern Italy
Work entitled Wasser ist nicht Wasser by German artist Michael Badura
5/14
Work entitled Wasser ist nicht Wasser by German artist Michael Badura
This display at the Museo della Merda shows bioluminescence from genetically modified bacteria feeding off methane gas produced by anaerobic digesters
6/14
This display at the Museo della Merda shows bioluminescence from genetically modified bacteria feeding off methane gas produced by anaerobic digesters
This display at the Museo della Merda shows bioluminescence from genetically modified bacteria feeding off methane gas
7/14
This display at the Museo della Merda shows bioluminescence from genetically modified bacteria feeding off methane gas
Medical preparations with dung ingredients from Pliny the Elder's Naturalis Historia
8/14
Medical preparations with dung ingredients from Pliny the Elder's Naturalis Historia
An archeological display of the base of an ancient Italian dwelling with bricks made of clay, straw and animal dung
9/14
An archeological display of the base of an ancient Italian dwelling with bricks made of clay, straw and animal dung
Terracotta pots made from clay and animal dung, dubbed Merdacotta
10/14
Terracotta pots made from clay and animal dung, dubbed Merdacotta
"Merdacotta" pots greet visitors to The Shit Museum
11/14
"Merdacotta" pots greet visitors to The Shit Museum
"Merdacotta" pots are lighter and sturdier than industrially made terracotta items
12/14
"Merdacotta" pots are lighter and sturdier than industrially made terracotta items
Castelbosco in Northern Italy is home to The Shit Museum
13/14
Castelbosco in Northern Italy is home to The Shit Museum
In "medicine and pharmacology" Pliny the Elder described curative concoctions that use of the droppings of various animals
14/14
In "medicine and pharmacology" Pliny the Elder described curative concoctions that use of the droppings of various animals

There's nothing like a good shit show to bring in the tourists. Opening for tours in October, the Shit Museum, or Museo della Merda, is a research and data-collection institute set in a medieval castle in Northern Italy that houses documents and information on excrement in culture, technology, science and history. Melding biomechanics with environmental art, visitors can expect to see a series of art, archaeological, historical and scientific installations dedicated to the theme of poo.

While the eyebrow-raising idea may sound a tad eccentric, founder and owner Gianantonio Locatelli is serious about presenting the many possibilities for reexamining and reinventing a waste substance that often leads to ecological degradation; one that promotes a healthier relationship between humans and nature. Locatelli has had lots of opportunity to contemplate the subject: he operates a 3,500-cow dairy farm on the surrounding property in Piacenza province that supplies milk for Grana Padano cheese. Besides the 13,200 gallons (50,000 l) of milk, there's also 330,700 pounds (150,000 kg) of cow dung produced each day.

Water pipes along the window heat the facility from energy produced by the biogass facility
Water pipes along the window heat the facility from energy produced by the biogass facility

The farm uses anaerobic digesters to convert the manure into biogas that produces 3 megawatt-hours of electricity per year, and heats the farm buildings and offices. Fertilizer is also produced from the digester's remainders. Other items made by Locatelli, in conjunction with architect Luca Cipelletti, are terracotta artifacts made from cow dung and clay, dubbed Merdacotta, which won a design award during Milan Design Week 2016. The pots, furniture, tableware and objets d'art are also featured in the museum, and are lighter and sturdier than industrially made terracotta items.

The development of Merdacotta is part of the Shit Museum's mission as a production center, generating ideas, both scientific and artistic, for exhibitions and projects, particularly as it pertains to sustainability and the transmutation of dung.

This display at the Museo della Merda shows bioluminescence from genetically modified bacteria feeding off methane gas
This display at the Museo della Merda shows bioluminescence from genetically modified bacteria feeding off methane gas

Installations at the museum include a display of bioluminescence in the form of green glowing jars lit by genetically modified bacteria feeding off methane gas. Based on research by Philips Lighting, the light is constant and all organic, and is meant to illustrate the potential creative uses of waste products.

In "medicine and pharmacology" Pliny the Elder described curative concoctions that use of the droppings of various animals
In "medicine and pharmacology" Pliny the Elder described curative concoctions that use of the droppings of various animals

An example of the museum's historical installations include a display of medical preparations from Pliny the Elder's Naturalis Historia that call for various types of dung. One such mixture uses the ash of excrements for quinsy, sore tonsils, sore uvula, and carcinoma. And for scorpion stings? Try she-goat's dung boiled down in vinegar.

Source: The Shit Museum

0 comments
There are no comments. Be the first!
Thanks for reading our articles. Please consider subscribing to New Atlas Plus.
By doing so you will be supporting independent journalism, plus you will get the benefits of a faster, ad-free experience.