LINKS to Museum Collections, Trade Literature, Organizations
Looking for information on a particular object? These resources may help you find what you are looking for. Many of the collections listed below have created searchable databases of objects. Several useful collections of trade literature also exist.
Collections of Scientific Instruments
Museu de Astronomia e Ciências Afins (MCTI/MAST) – Astronomical and other scientific instruments, 19th century to the present.
Rio de Janeiro
Rua General Bruce, 586
Bairro Imperial de São Cristóvão
Rio de Janeiro CEP: 20.921-030
Canada Science and Technology Museum (CSTM) – Objects relevant to the history of Canadian science and technology.
Catalogue: The CSTM collection is partly accessible through the webpage of Artefacts Canada.
To facilitate locating artefacts in a specific museum, click the box for “Only records with images”. and then choose appropriate the province. You may repeat the search without choosing the “Only records with images”. Additional terms will help limit the list of artefacts returned.
Canada Science and Technology Museum
1867 St Laurent Blvd
Ottawa, Ontario K1G 5A3
The Manitoba Museum – Navigational instruments associated with the Hudson’s Bay Company.
190 Rupert Avenue
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 0N2
Maritime Museum of the Atlantic – Nautical instruments, nineteenth century onward.
1675 Lower Water Street
Halifax, Nova Scotia B3J 1S3
Ernest Rutherford Physics Building
3600 rue University
Montréal, Quebec H3A 2T8
Medical Artifact Collection, University of Western Ontario – Objects representing the practice and teaching of health and medicine in southwestern Ontario.
The UWO Medical Artefact Collection, contains over 1000 objects.
Catalogue: Catalogue search is available on the collection website.
London, Ontario N6A 5B7
Musée de la Civilisation – One of the largest collections of French scientific instruments outside of Paris, including late eighteenth and nineteenth century laboratory apparatus which are part of the important Séminaire de Québec Collection.
85, rue Dalhousie
Québec, Québec G1K 8R
Museum of Healthcare – A large collection of medical artefacts representing the history of health in Canada.
Ann Baillie Building National Historic Site
32 George St.
Kingston, Ontario K7L 2V7
20, chemin du Tour-de-l’Isle
Montréal, Québec H3C 0K7.
University of Toronto Scientific Instruments Collection (UTSIC) – Instruments from a variety of disciplines representing the history of scientific research at the University of Toronto, c. 1878 to the present.
The University of Toronto collection is not fully catalogued but a substantial number of instruments are currently listed on the catalogue homepage.
Researchers can arrange a visit by contacting the collection at utsic[at]utoronto[dot]ca.
c/o Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology (IHPST)
Room 316, Victoria College
91 Charles Street West
Toronto, Ontario M5S 1K7
Vancouver Maritime Museum – Navigation, fishing, boating, naval affairs, with focus on the Pacific Northwest.
1905 Ogden Avenue in Vanier Park
Vancouver, British Columbia V6J 1A3
York University Computer Museum (YUCoM) – Artifacts from the history of computing in Canada.
Lassonde Building (LAS)
York University Keele campus
The foundation this online collection are the scientific instruments from the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities mostly from the 18th and 19th century. 500 selected
objects have been indexed and digitised focusing on functional principles and historical importance.
Additional artefacts will be added to the beta version of the site.
For comments on the database contact Julia Bloomer
The Hellenic Archives of Scientific Instruments
These archives concern the scientific instruments that are located in Greek institutions and dated pre 1970.
The website is maintained by the Program of History, Philosophy and Didactics of Science and Technology of the Institute of Neohellenic Research, of the National Hellenic Research Foundation and the University of Athens. The Program is associated to the National Observatory of Athens.
To contact the Program of History, Philosophy and Didactics of Science and Technology click here:
Adler Planetarium – Instruments related to astronomy, navigation, surveying, time finding, time keeping, mathematics, and cartography. The collection features many instruments from the Middle Ages and Renaissance.
1300 South Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60605
Allen King Collection of Scientific Instruments – Dartmouth College – Scientific artefacts dating back to the founding of Dartmouth college in 1769 as well as from more recent research.
American Computer and Robotics Museum– Artefacts from the history of computing and robotics in the United States.
2023 Stadium Drive – Unit 1-A
Bozeman, MT 59715
Tel: (406) 582-1288
Ariail Collection of Historical Astronomy – South Carolina State Museum – Telescopes and astronomical apparatus, many American-made.
Ariail Collection of Historical Astronomy
301 Gervais Street
Columbia, SC 29201
The Bakken Museum – Artefacts representing electrical phenomena in the life sciences and medicine.
3537 Zenith Avenue South
Minneapolis. MN 55416
Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments (CHSI) – Harvard University – Teaching and research instruments from a broad range of scientific disciplines, many with a Harvard history.
Computer History Museum – Exhibits and collections representing the history of computing.
Mountain View, CA
Computer History Museum
1401 N Shoreline Blvd.
Mountain View, CA 94043
Chemical Heritage Foundation – Instruments relating to the history of chemistry and alchemy.
Chemical Heritage Foundation
315 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Dittrick Medical History Center – Case Western Reserve University – Diagnostic, therapeutic, and surgical instruments.
The Mariner’s Museum – Navigational and maritime instruments.
Newport News, VA
The Mariners’ Museum and Park
100 Museum Dr.
Newport News, PA 23606
Millington-Barnard Collection – The University of Mississippi – Nineteenth-century apparatus for teaching astronomy, physics, and natural philosophy.
The University of Mississippi Museum
University Avenue and 5th St.
Oxford, MS 38655
MIT Museum – Artefacts documenting MIT’s scientific and engineering work.
Monroe Moosnick Medical and Science Museum – Transylvania University – Natural philosophy teaching apparatus, 1820-1850.
300 North Broadway
Lexington, KY 40508
The Mütter Museum – The College of Physicians of Philadelphia – Medical and surgical instruments of all kinds, as well as anatomical models and specimens.
Mystic Seaport – Navigational and maritime instruments, maps and charts, and watercraft reflecting America’s relationship with the sea and inland waterways since 1530.
National Air and Space Museum (NASM) – Smithsonian Institution – Astronomy, space astronomy, and aeronautics from the modern period, with a focus on US history.
National Museum of American History (NMAH) – Smithsonian Institution – Instruments of astronomy, physics, chemistry, horology, surveying, and navigation. Many are of European origin although American artifacts are also featured.
National Museum of Health and Medicine (NMHM) – Material culture related to the history and practice of American medicine and military medicine, including anatomical models and specimens, surgical, dental, diagnostic, and therapeutic instruments, and the Billings Microscope Collection.
Silver Spring, MD
The Oesper Collection in the History of Chemistry – University of Cincinnati – Artefacts documenting the history of chemistry including many modern objects used in local research.
Warren Anatomical Museum (WAM) – Harvard University – Medical and surgical instruments, anatomical models and specimens.
Warren Anatomical Museum
The Countway Library
10 Shattuck St.
Boston, MA 02115
Peabody Museum of Natural History, Division of Historical Scientific Instruments – Yale University – Apparatus primarily related to physics, medicine, and anthropology.
Peabody Museum of Natural History
P.O. Box 208118
New Haven, CT 06520-8118
Several hundred historical scientific instrument catalogues, many from North America, available for download or browsing.
The SIC provides an updated list of online instrument trade catalogue archives from around the world.
The online trade literature collection of the National Museum of American History (NMAH) contains many useful catalogues from the scientific instruments trade.The collection can be browsed by manufacturer and discipline.
The Max Plank digital collection contains a large number of downloadable trade catalogues. Most are European and many are in German. A few are from North America. The site also contains digitized journals, manuscripts, and other resources.
Instrument and Apparatus Manuals and Catalogues at the Center for the History of Psychology, University of Akron
Full text digitized instrument manuals and catalogues for instruments related to the history of psychology over the 20th century.
Dana Research Centre and Library, Science Museum, London
The new facility is now open at 165 Queen’s Gate, London and is located at the back of the main Museum building located at Exhibition Road, South Kensington, London, SW7 2DD. Directions to the get to the SML may be found here: www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/visitmuseum/getting_here.aspx.
There are around 5,500 volumes on open shelving, and terminals to access digital resources. You will also be able to consult selected archives and items from library collections transported from our stores in Wroughton (our library team will be able to advise on the notice required as this will vary depending on the condition and volume of material requested). We plan to rotate some of the open shelving holdings based on reader demand, so the helpdesk staff will welcome your feedback regarding anything else you’d like to see stocked – there is an extensive selection of works on scientific instruments but I am sure that list members will be able to tell us about others.
A new catalogue for the Archive will launch in mid-November, 2015.
Click for hours and reader registration info