MUFFFA, or ‘Museo delle FarFalle e delle FAlene‘ (Museum of Butterflies and Moths), is a project of the cooperative Farfalle nella testa, which runs the Butterfly House. After years of gestation, MUFFFA was opened in 2020, with the entomological collection of Francesco Barbieri, scientific director of the cooperative and the Butterfly House.Since then, several exhibitions of the material in the collection have been realised, and the museum has been enriched by various donations from enthusiasts and private collectors.CollectionsAs is the case with any natural history museum, one of the main purposes of the MUFFFA is to preserve collections of biological exhibits, in this case of lepidopterans (butterflies and moths), which are made available to the scientific community for the study of these insects.One of the special features of the MUFFFA is the extensive collection of ‘unusual’ butterflies, i.e. specimens with characteristics that differ from those typical of their own species. One example are the hybrid specimens, i.e. those that are the result of mating between different species, which, although very rare, can be found alive in the Butterfly House greenhouses. Or the gynandromorphs: half-male and half-female individuals that, although they manage to survive in the greenhouses, would not stand much chance in the wild. The study of these specimens has already proved very useful for better understanding developmental mechanisms (e.g. how wings or colours develop during metamorphosis), or the kinship relationships between different species. Hybridization between two apparently very different species tells us, for example, that the two species are in fact not very distant from each other and that their classification must, for this reason, be reviewed and, if necessary, modified.DisseminationAnother important role of this as of any museum is scientific outreach, an activity of primary importance in educating the community about natural realities, to learn about how nature works, our planet, and consequently increase our awareness of what our ecological role is, how delicate it is, and how much the future of all living things depends on us. Actually, butterflies are just as interesting as ticks, cockroaches and mosses, yet humans have always had a soft spot for these graceful animals. For this reason, butterflies lend themselves better than others to become the starting point for explaining the important (and often complicated) concepts that underpin scientific knowledge.More than a collectionMUFFFA is therefore not just a collection, but a ‘container’ in which we work to find ever more effective, topical, interactive ways of communicating science, to promote contemplation and wonder, entertaining our audience with experiences that are certainly entertaining but, more importantly, enlightening and inspiring. Because we truly believe that understanding a butterfly can help us change the world. 
testata eventi

A number of MUFFFA-related activities will be organised during the season on these dates:.

  • Saturday 20 April: opening of the new collections exhibition
  • Sunday 12 May: guided tour of the new exhibition
    MUFFFA director