Collections Blog

Explore our museum and library collections and the stories they tell about the history of science.
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Lost Stories and Missed Opportunities

Extruder at Hercules Parlin plant, 1951
May 23, 2024

A Crushing Task

On the hunt for the historical sources of an underappreciated field: mechanochemistry.

immigration form 576
May 9, 2024

Leaving Limitations Behind

Scientists’ memories of migration.

Family Radiation Measurement Kit cardboard box
April 25, 2024

The Nuclear Family

Two instruments evoke memories of being a child during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

illustration of superheroes including the Hulk and Spiderman
April 11, 2024

Curators Assemble: Behind the Scenes of ‘Superheroes, Science, and the Environment’

Unmasking how a museum exhibition is made.

March 28, 2024

Weaving History

What do Qing dynasty paintings reveal about the secret of degumming ramie?

illustration of the Lodge at Los Alamos on a sheet of stationary
March 7, 2024

Life on ‘The Mesa’

The Manhattan Project forged a city in the desert at Los Alamos.

illustration of a dragon eating its own tail
February 22, 2024

Here Be Dragons

Celebrate the Year of the Dragon with some of the legendary creatures in our collections.

Hit-type subminiture camera
February 8, 2024

I Spy a Tiny Camera Mystery

What happens when an archivist finds film in an old camera?

Journal of the Chinese Chemical Society
January 25, 2024

Subscribing to Science

On the globe- and time-spanning journals of the Othmer Library collection.

group of women standing around a lab table with periodic table in background
January 11, 2024

Ladies Who Lab: Lesser-Known Women in Science, 1920–1970

Highlighting the work of 20th-century female scientists in our library collection.

side view of a Varian A-60 spectrometer
December 14, 2023

Buttons, Buttons Everywhere, and Not a Thing to Touch

On the goals and utilities of museum handling collections.

illustration of children playing
November 9, 2023

The Kids Are Alright

Understanding past attitudes toward science and medicine through children’s books.

old computer hardware and software on shelves
October 26, 2023

It Came from the Technology Graveyard!

At Halloween, consider what haunts digital archivists the most: technological obsolescence.

October 12, 2023

The Faces of the American Chemical Society

Celebrate National Chemistry Week with a look at five trailblazing ACS presidents.

handwritten notes and diagrams in a book
October 5, 2023

Her Booke

What marginalia can tell us about a book’s former owners.

illustration of a pigeon
September 14, 2023

A Pigeon, a Cow, and a Book Detective

Investigating the origins of two early-20th-century Italian “flap anatomy” books.

DuPont display at a 1973 conference
August 24, 2023

Collecting the Ecosystems of Science

A dispatch from PITTCON by our curator of instruments and artifacts.

Musaeum metallicum in libros IIII distributum
August 10, 2023

There’s a Class(ification) for That!

My trip to Rare Book School, or, how I spent (part of) my summer.