Scientific instruments and objects

27 januari 2010


The study of the material culture of science is steadily gaining significance. In the Netherlands, there is a working group devoted to it, which holds regular meetings. (to receive more information, send an e-mail to:materielecultuurvanwetenschap@gmail.comDit e-mail adres is beschermd tegen spambots. U heeft Javascript nodig om het te kunnen zien.)

The Foundation for Academic Heritage (Stichting Academisch Erfgoed or SAE) is responsible for the interests of the material heritage of the Netherlands’ five oldest universities. Its web site also lists a number of ‘crown jewels’, who together provide some insight into the rich diversity of Dutch academic material culture. The SAE is hosting a special web site devoted to medical heritage.

Scienfific heritage, including scientific instruments, is being kept in these museums and institutes:


Rest of the world

Databases for scientific instruments

  • For research on scientific instruments the Webster-Database of instrument makers supported by the Adler Planetarium at Chicago is very useful.
  • Catalogues of scientific instrument maker firms operational since the 19e-century have been digitalised by the Smithsonian Institution in the project Instruments for Science, 1800-1914
  • A similar project of digitalised catalogues of scientific instruments is carried out by the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin.
  • A database of historical telescopes: Dioptrice: Refracting Telescopes prior to 1775.

Databases for scientific objects in other Dutch museums

Mailing lists

  • Rete is an international mailinglist devoted to teh History of Scientific Instruments, maintained by the Museum of the History of Science in Oxford (G.B.)