The museum of one of the most celebrated theatres in the world almost never got established. In 1911 the antique dealer, Jules Sambon, put up for auction his prestigious collection of memorabilia linked to the world of theatre. To find the 450,000 Lire he was asking for, fifty of Milan's citizens and intellectuals organised a collection. But Sambon decided to sell to another bidder, J. P. Morgan, one of the wealthiest and most powerful men in the world. Thankfully the Milanese didn’t give up and managed to convince the tycoon to abandon the auction. Two years later, in 1913, Museo Teatrale Alla Scala opened in what had once been the Casinò Ricordi
The museum harbours many treasures, such as period instruments, paintings reproducing the works of the engraver Jacques Callot and porcelain figurines of the Commedia Dell’Arte’s famous characters. Moreover, the museum’s library contains more than 150,000 volumes and thirty manuscripts of complete works (including Verdi’s Requiem Mass and Rossini’s Tancredi), as well as single sheets by composers such as Beethoven and Mozart.