History of the museum
"The Centrale Montemartini is an extraordinary example of industrial archaeology, the first public plant in Rome for the production of electricity, converted into a museum. The history of the museum began in 1997 with the transfer of a selection of sculptures and archaeological findings from the Capitoline Museums to the new location."
A large exhibition, commissioned by the Capitoline Superintendence for Cultural Heritage, would have allowed proceeding with the renovation of large areas of the Capitoline Museums, without taking the works away from the public. Large spaces of the Centrale Montemartini, marked by the enormous surviving machinery, were considered more suitable than ever to experiment with new museographic solutions.
Acea transformed the site into a museum, adapting the spaces to the new intended use and restoring the machines, while the Capitoline Museums curated the archaeological exhibition. The two different interventions were carried out simultaneously, with great enthusiasm and in full harmony.
Two worlds that are diametrically opposed, archaeology and industrial archaeology, for the first time were combined in a courageous arrangement where the space was organised in a way that the pre-existing objects and the objects to be shown remained intact and did not distort each other.
The exhibition, opened to the public in October 1997, is a play of contrasts between Machines and Gods, which became the title of the exhibition.
The public interest and the operators attracted by the approach of the exhibition confirmed the validity of the new exhibition space, so much so that in 2001 it went from a temporary experiment to the creation of a permanent seat: the Museum of the Centrale Montemartini.
From that time on, the museum, a separate location of the Capitoline Museums, was enriched with new spaces and new archaeological objects, showing works that remained closed in the warehouses during the years and taken away from the general public.
In November 2016, after several renovations, the museum was extended with the opening of a new hall, where the famous coaches of the Train of Pius IX are exposed.