Harvard Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments

Harvard Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments As researchers at Harvard have advanced the sciences, the artifacts of their work continue to inform.
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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. Discover our collection online with the Waywiser database: http://dssmhi1.fas.harvard.edu/emuseumdev/code/eMuseum.asp?lang=EN

As part of our new virtual initiative, HMSC Connects! presents "Extraordinary Things," featuring intriguing objects from...
05/27/2020

As part of our new virtual initiative, HMSC Connects! presents "Extraordinary Things," featuring intriguing objects from all four of our museums seen from multiple, sometimes surprising perspectives. https://bit.ly/HMSCExtraordinaryThings

Each week, you’ll see a collection of objects with a different theme, starting with this week's (public health-inspired) "Home Sweet Home.” From the Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments, we start things off with a bang via Thunder Houses! https://bit.ly/HMSCconnectsExtraordinaryThingsThunderHouses.

CHSI Inv. #0019, Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments. Purchased from its maker, the Reverend John Prince of Salem, MA, 1789. #HMSCconnects #museumfromhome

Are you doing any measuring and weighing at home: garden plots, cooking ingredients, or maybe even yourself? May 20th, 1...
05/20/2020

Are you doing any measuring and weighing at home: garden plots, cooking ingredients, or maybe even yourself? May 20th, 1875 marks the day international traders signed a treaty agreeing to use a standard system of weights and measures.

This weights and pulleys demonstration from Waywiser was among the first instruments in the CHSI collection (hence the low inventory number), and part of the trove of instruments whose purchase was arranged by Benjamin Franklin to replace those lost by Harvard in a fire in 1764. https://qrgo.page.link/4Fzjz #WeightsandMeasuresDay

#MuseumAtHome with our new digital offerings for all ages and interests. #InternationalMuseumDay
05/18/2020

#MuseumAtHome with our new digital offerings for all ages and interests. #InternationalMuseumDay

Check out our new page of virtual, #MuseumAtHome digital offerings: HMSC Connects! https://bit.ly/HMSCconnects

We have resources for all ages and interests including virtual events like Summer Solstice, a new podcast from our exhibits team, HMSC story time, a family e-news, and the HMSC Explorers Club feed, with much more to come. #MuseumDay #IMD2020 #InternationalMuseumDay

While our special exhibition, "VISUAL SCIENCE..." is unavailable for in-person appreciation, its fascinating constituent...
05/18/2020
Special Exhibitions Gallery

While our special exhibition, "VISUAL SCIENCE..." is unavailable for in-person appreciation, its fascinating constituents are now available online, no mask required!

VISUAL SCIENCE:The Art of Research

Make a splash at your zoom meetings this week with this #virtualbackground of the Cyclotron from our Putnam gallery. htt...
05/17/2020

Make a splash at your zoom meetings this week with this #virtualbackground of the Cyclotron from our Putnam gallery. https://bit.ly/HMSCVirtualBackgrounds #workfromhomeday #museumfromhome

HMSC has entered the podcast space. The HMSC Connects! weekly podcast will feature an interview with David Unger, Direct...
05/16/2020

HMSC has entered the podcast space. The HMSC Connects! weekly podcast will feature an interview with David Unger, Director of Administration, CHSI, and Harvard lecturer on the History of Science, in the near future.

In the meantime listen to this week's episode featuring Andrew Williston, manager of the Museum of Comparative Zoology's Ichthyology collection. https://bit.ly/HMSCconnectspodcast #HMSCconnects

We are pleased to announce the launch of the HMSC Connects! podcast, a weekly podcast hosted by Harvard Museums of Science & Culture exhibit developer Jennifer Berglund. https://bit.ly/HMSCconnectspodcast

In each episode Jennifer goes behind the scenes of the four museums to talk to the scholars, researchers, collection keepers, exhibit designers, and other fascinating individuals who keep the museums humming along and create a compelling array of exhibits and programs. Jennifer and her guests explore the connections between us, our big, beautiful world, and even what lies beyond.

For this first episode, “Andrew Williston and the Museum’s Big Collection of Fishes,” she speaks with Andrew Williston, who manages the Museum of Comparative Zoology's Ichthyology collection, an assemblage of one and a half million specimens of preserved fishes.

They delve into topics around forming collections, the upcoming Sharks exhibit at the Harvard Museum of Natural History, his love of baseball cards, robotic viper fish, biodiversity, and more. Andrew says, "People tend to have a knee jerk reaction towards sharks. I hope one thing that people get out of this exhibit is to move past their initial reaction to the word shark."

Future episodes will feature Adam Aja from the Harvard Museum of the Ancient Near East, Dave Unger from the Harvard Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments, and Diana Zlatanovski of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology talking about collections—the value of them, their Museum’s collection in particular, and their history of collecting. #HMSCconnects

A huge thank you to nurses from our partner museum the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology to kick off Museum We...
05/11/2020

A huge thank you to nurses from our partner museum the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology to kick off Museum Week! #HeroesMW

We're kicking off MuseumWeek with a heartfelt thank you to all of the nurses, medical staff, first responders, researchers, essential, and front line workers out there helping to keep us safe. #HeroesMW #MuseumWeek #togetherMW #NursesWeek

As an army sergeant during the Korean War, Roger Marshutz documented life in Pusan. PM 2003.17.313. Gift of Roger Marshutz (Photographer), 1929. © President and Fellows of Harvard College, Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology.

Time seems to be moving very strangely lately. Psychologists have always studied how individuals perceive time intervals...
05/06/2020

Time seems to be moving very strangely lately. Psychologists have always studied how individuals perceive time intervals and what conditions influenced those perceptions. This sense-of-time apparatus from our Putnam gallery, c. 1890, triggered auditory or visual stimuli of varying intensity and quality at precisely measured intervals. #museumfromhome

Maker: E. Zimmermann
Leipzig, Germany
Designed by Ernst Meumann https://bit.ly/MeumannTimeSenseApparatus

Happy #AstronomyDay! This Tellurian from our collection is made for the demonstration of solar and lunar eclipses, the r...
05/02/2020
tellurian with Venus

Happy #AstronomyDay! This Tellurian from our collection is made for the demonstration of solar and lunar eclipses, the reason for the seasons, and the phases of Venus.

Made by the Trippensee Planetarium Company in Saginaw, IN this geared planetarium runs when gears and bicycle-type chains make the earth turn on its axis, the moon go around the earth, and Venus to go around the sun when the plastic arm is pushed by a handle. https://bit.ly/TellurianatCHSI

This geared planetarium is made of plastic, metal, and wood. It shows the sun, earth, moon, and Venus (and is therefore more appropriately called a tellurian). The …

Although morse code is not widely used today it was a critical tool when communicating by sea, especially during war tim...
04/27/2020

Although morse code is not widely used today it was a critical tool when communicating by sea, especially during war time.

This weight-driven printing telegraph from our collection was made in 1860 in Boston. When a current runs through the battery, it activates the electromagnet, which in turn exerts a force on the lever with the stylus on the end. The stylus makes contact with the paper when the current is on, which in turn records a morse code message on the paper.
https://qrgo.page.link/LctHf

Can you decode this message?
.-- .... . -. / .. ... / - .... . / -. . -..- - / --.. --- --- -- / -- . . - .. -. --. ..--..

#MorseCodeDay #museumfromhome

ANSWER: When is the next Zoom meeting?

Remember this archaic device? Before the cell phone age this rotary phone worked perfectly fine to communicate necessary...
04/25/2020

Remember this archaic device? Before the cell phone age this rotary phone worked perfectly fine to communicate necessary information to neighbors, family members, and resolve video rental fees by phone. Now, it is an ancient artifact to many. Today we celebrate telephones of the past on #NationalTelephoneDay. Here are a few from our collection. Now go call your Mother! http://waywiser.fas.harvard.edu/search/telephone

We are sharing this print "Measuring the Sunshine" with our fellow scientific instrument collection holders, the Hood Mu...
04/21/2020

We are sharing this print "Measuring the Sunshine" with our fellow scientific instrument collection holders, the Hood Museum at Dartmouth (https://bit.ly/2yApwag) for #museumsunshine day.

Published by the Illustrated London News artist W. Bassett Murray depicts a rooftop with apparatus for solar measurements at the Royal Observatory at Greenwich. More info here: https://bit.ly/3bsvCbc.

The glass globe inside the bowl is a type of Campbell-Stokes sunshine recorder. Here is one from our collection: https://bit.ly/3eLcWFN.

Our entry for National Poetry Month! A copy of this classic comic from Walt Kelly's late-lamented "Pogo" adorns the cont...
04/20/2020

Our entry for National Poetry Month! A copy of this classic comic from Walt Kelly's late-lamented "Pogo" adorns the control console of the (also late-lamented) Harvard Cyclotron. Such a sweet expression of the humanity behind this important scientific undertaking! https://bit.ly/3bk5dMB

Any amateur radio fans or broadcasters out there? We have a myriad of broadcasting instruments in our collections to bro...
04/18/2020

Any amateur radio fans or broadcasters out there? We have a myriad of broadcasting instruments in our collections to browse, including a Gled portable 6-tube radio broadcast receiver from 1924. Just remember, always keep a wavelength apart from your fellow neighbor! http://waywiser.fas.harvard.edu/search/radio #AmateurRadioDay

It's another sunny Spring day! Imagine yourself sailing away on one of these sailboats in the Boston Harbor. #LookUpAtTh...
04/14/2020

It's another sunny Spring day! Imagine yourself sailing away on one of these sailboats in the Boston Harbor. #LookUpAtTheSkyDay

This is a 1957 reproduction of an of an engraving entitled "A View of Boston." The first publication of this engraving dates to 1773 by Joseph Frederick Wallet DesBarres and taken from the great sea atlas, The Atlantic Neptune. In 1957, 100 copies of the engraving were printed by the Meriden Gravure Company on hand-made paper, and given to the fellows of the Peabody Essex Museum. This is print number 60. #museummomentofzen #museumathome https://bit.ly/CHSISkyEngravingPrint

Biologists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) have assembled colorized micrographs of N...
04/10/2020
Novel Coronavirus 2019

Biologists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) have assembled colorized micrographs of Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 to aid in vaccine research... Another example of "VISUAL SCIENCE" in action! https://qrgo.page.link/4tHhx

Images and B-roll related to the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2, also known as 2019-nCoV) that causes COVID-19. See related album, "MERS-CoV"

Last fall we opened our new exhibition Visual Science: The Art of Research. Although our doors are closed right now we w...
04/08/2020

Last fall we opened our new exhibition Visual Science: The Art of Research. Although our doors are closed right now we wanted to share with you one of our favorite images from the exhibition.

Professor Jeffrey Lichtman's Harvard Center for Brain Science (CBS) enhanced image of mouse brain tissue, or "brainbow," explains how visual representation spurs scientific discovery.

Lichtman’s lab focuses on the study of neural connectivity and how it changes as animals develop and age. To trace the longer pathways that interconnect different brain regions, the CBS developed a genetic method to label each individual nerve cell a different color.

Read more about the research behind the Harvard Center for Brain Science: https://bit.ly/CBSBrainbow

More about the exhibit: http://bit.ly/VisualScienceCHSI #museumfromhome #museummomentofzen

Today's NYTimes.com video presentation offers a vivid example of how visual representation can help interpret data, fost...
04/07/2020
How Coronavirus Attacks the Body

Today's NYTimes.com video presentation offers a vivid example of how visual representation can help interpret data, fostering understanding, and inspiring exploration during this difficult time.

It doesn’t take long for mild coronavirus symptoms to turn serious. These virtual reality images show how the virus can invade the lungs and kill.

We are all just trying to find our way in this new landscape, and sometimes it feels like we are searching in the dark t...
03/31/2020

We are all just trying to find our way in this new landscape, and sometimes it feels like we are searching in the dark to get used to the "new normal."

This English nocturnal was used for telling the time at night by the circumpolar stars. With the instrument held upright, the Pole star is sighted through the hole and the large index rotated to align with the guards of the Big Dipper. The Regiment of the North Star told mariners how far above of below the Pole Star was true north so that they could correct their latitude observations. Note the amazing heart shaped handle. We wish you the best of luck navigating this journey! bit.ly/CHSIInstrumentoftheMonthMarch20

Date: 1650-1700
Inventory Number: 7315
#museumfromhome #museumsgomobile #visitas2020

Today we pay tribute to Williamina Fleming, a Scottish immigrant who was originally hired as a maid by Professor Edward ...
03/26/2020

Today we pay tribute to Williamina Fleming, a Scottish immigrant who was originally hired as a maid by Professor Edward Charles Pickering, director of the Harvard College Observatory.

She went on to become the head of the "Harvard computers," a team of women who interpreted the observations of male astronomers in the late 1800s.
She and her team are mentioned in "Time, Life, & Matter" in our Putnam Gallery, and the attached photo (with her standing in the background) is part of the display. More objects in our collection: https://bit.ly/WilliaminaFlemingCHSI.

During her career, she helped develop a common designation system for stars. Fleming is also noted for her discovery of the Horsehead Nebula in 1888, and the first white dwarf in 1910. In 1898, she was appointed Curator of Astronomical Photographs at Harvard, the first woman to hold the position.

In 2017 Center for Astrophysics l Harvard & Smithsonian Wolbach Library unveiled a display showcasing Fleming's work. The library has dozens of volumes of Fleming's work in its #PHaEDRA collection.

#WomensHistoryMonth #MuseumfromHome
#Visitas2020 #Harvard

While we would never clean OUR gadgets this way, yours may be a different story!
03/25/2020
How to Clean and Disinfect All Your Gadgets

While we would never clean OUR gadgets this way, yours may be a different story!

Whether you want to protect against COVID-19 or just give all your gadgets a deep-clean while you’re stuck at home, now’s the ideal time! Here’s how you can safely clean your tech gadgets, without damaging anything.

Even though we are closed, would you like to borrow this Cyclotron virtual background to spice up your live meetings? No...
03/24/2020

Even though we are closed, would you like to borrow this Cyclotron virtual background to spice up your live meetings? No Hollywood-style green-screen special effect setup required! https://bit.ly/HMSCZoomBackgrounds #MuseumsGoMobile #MuseumsfromHome

We are so grateful for our museum partners on this #whyilovemuseumsday. Shout out to our colleagues at the Peabody Museu...
03/18/2020

We are so grateful for our museum partners on this #whyilovemuseumsday. Shout out to our colleagues at the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Semitic Museum, Harvard Museum of Natural History & Harvard Art Museums today, in spite of our current challenges. 💌

03/17/2020
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We opened the exhibit Visual Science: The Art of Research last fall. Throughout history artists and scientists have worked to communicate important scientific concepts to each other, and the public, through visual means. The exhibit explores this important relationship between science and art. You can see the images featured in the gallery from home here: https://chsi.harvard.edu/exhibitions/special-exhibitions.

Share with us why you love our museums for #whyilovemuseumsday on 3/18!
03/13/2020

Share with us why you love our museums for #whyilovemuseumsday on 3/18!

Mark Your Calendars! #WhyILoveMuseums is back March 18th
(Also supporting #5WomenArtists and #MuseumMomentofZen!)

We continue to monitor the evolving coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and prioritize the safety of our visitors, staff, st...
03/12/2020

We continue to monitor the evolving coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and prioritize the safety of our visitors, staff, students and volunteers. In the interests of reducing the number of people on campus and slowing the opportunity for transmission, the university museums are closing to the public until further notice. This is in alignment with the closing of many other Boston-area public museums.

Over the next few weeks we will be assessing the situation and reviewing options for when we will be able to re-open to the public.

This decision has been carefully considered, as we know museums are community spaces. To continue to provide options for learning and reflection, we would like to direct you to explore our online resources such as lecture videos: http://bit.ly/HMSCLectures. We will also be investigating additional options for digital content.

We appreciate your understanding as we do our part to mitigate the spread of the virus in our community. In this we are following the lead of Harvard University, which is transitioning to remote learning and asking students not to return to campus following Spring Recess.

Happy #SolarAppreciatonDay! In 1780 (during America's Revolutionary War with Britain), Samuel Williams, Professor of Mat...
03/10/2020

Happy #SolarAppreciatonDay! In 1780 (during America's Revolutionary War with Britain), Samuel Williams, Professor of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy, led an expedition of researchers north to Penobscot Bay, ME, to observe a total solar eclipse. The observation area was behind enemy lines, but leaders among the combatants recognized the importance of the scientific opportunity, and the tiny band of researchers was allowed to pass.

“It is remarkable to learn that even in the midst of the armed struggle, scientific advancement was considered by both sides important enough to take priority over the more ephemeral concerns of politics and military supremacy,” - Lars D.H. Hedbor, The Journal of the American Revolution.

Some of the same instruments were engaged in a 1980 re-enactment of the expedition, 200 years after the eclipse, by an intrepid group of Harvard students, led by assistant curator Ebenezer Gay.

The instruments used in both expeditions may be seen today as part of "Time, Life, & Matter" in the Putnam Gallery (see below). Come admire them in person, or explore them via Waywiser, our online database: http://bit.ly/CHSISolarExpeditionHistory.

CHSI's Putnam Gallery is located in the Science Center, 1 Oxford St, Cambridge, MA, Hours: Sun - Fri, 11:00am - 4:00pm EST.

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1 Oxford St
Cambridge, MA
02138

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Comments

Rise up!
Fantastic! You gotta see this collection; it's amazing.
Planck's constant E = hf 6 or 4 Kepler's third law in the microcosm https://youtu.be/VEjP7BdZWLY http://vixra.org/abs/1610.0103 https://doi.org/10.21267/in.2017.24.4913 Uniform Unified System of Dimensions Physical Quantities http://vixra.org/abs/1804.0105
Some photos from our visit on Sunday, 11/19