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Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments

The Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments, which was established in 1948 to preserve this apparatus as a resource for teaching and research in the history of science and technology, has become one of the three largest university collections of its kind in the world. (Photo: Hughes-type printing telegraph by Louis-Clément Breguet, c. 1875.)

 

Contact Information

 
(617) 495-2779
chsi@fas.harvard.edu
Address:
Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments Science Center Room 250 One Oxford Street Cambridge MA 02138
 
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HOURS OF OPERATION

 
 
 

ABOUT

 

Harvard University has been acquiring scientific instruments on a continuous basis for teaching and research since 1672. The Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments, which was established in 1948 to preserve this apparatus as a resource for teaching and research in the history of science and technology, has become one of the three largest university collections of its kind in the world. Originally associated with the Harvard library system, the Collection was placed under the stewardship of the Department of History of Science in 1987. The core mission of the Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments is to preserve, document, and care for over 20,000 instruments portraying the history of science teaching and research at Harvard from the Colonial period to the 21st century. Through its lively exhibit and teaching programs, web presence, and increasing involvement in critical media practices, the CHSI’s research activities and cultural initiatives intersect and bring together a multiplicity of academic disciplines and areas of professional museum expertise. The CHSI is both a specialized institution and an experimental space, where Harvard Faculty and students, instrument scholars and museum experts meet in the production of object-based knowledge.

 

Collections

 

Scientific Instruments

Ophthalmotrope (Inv. Number: WJ0002, Max Kohl, Germany, c. 1893)

 
 

LIBRARY SERVICES

 
 

LIBRARY STAFF

 
 

VISITOR POLICIES

 
  • Access
  • Open by appointment only.