The Science History Institute’s object collection includes artifacts and scientific instruments of historical interest and significance that document the history of chemistry and chemical engineering and their impact on society.
The Institute is one of the few organizations in the world that collects and promotes the study of scientific instruments, apparatus, and analytical tools that helped shape the modern world. We seek to preserve the material heritage of chemistry, collecting objects ranging from early handheld analytical balances to late-20th-century mass spectrometers.
Strengths of our object collection include the Beckman IR-1 spectrophotometer, John Fenn’s electrospray mass spectrometer, and Bruce Merrifield’s solid-phase peptide synthesizer. This collection is supplemented by a vast array of instrumentation manuals, ephemera, and trade literature.
The Institute also holds a variety of fascinating historical artifacts related to chemistry and chemical education, including one of the best public collections of chemistry sets, with approximately 170 different sets from all over the world, including Australia and Germany.
Access our database of scientific instruments, paper ephemera, and other objects related to the history of science.
Search our growing collection of digitized objects.
Browse the slideshow for curated highlights from our object collection.