The Historical Instruments Working Group (WG-HI) and Commission 41 started planning an interdisciplinary conference titled Astronomy and its instruments before and after Galileo since January 2007. This conference, as an IYA2009 initiative, aims “to highlight mankind's path toward an improved knowledge of the sky using mathematical and mechanical tools as well as monuments and buildings, giving rise, in doing so, to scientific astronomy”. Commission 46 and Commission 55 also support this conference, to be held on the Isle of San Servolo, Venice (Italy), 27 September – 3 October 2009. As a fact of history, it was in Venice that Galileo was advised and got material (glass) to make his telescope, and in Venice he presented an working instrument to Venetian Doge in August 1609. The conference is co-sponsored by IAU as a Joint Symposium with the INAF – Astronomical Observatory of Padova, Italy.