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Science History Institute

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.

Digital Collections

Search our growing collection of digitized objects.



Collection Highlights


Browse the slideshow for curated highlights from our object collection.

Ernst Leitz Wetzlar microscope, ca. 1923
Science History Institute/Gregory Tobias
Bakelite rotary phone, 20th century
Science History Institute/Gregory Tobias
Porter Chemcraft Senior Set No. 6105
Science History Institute/Gregory Tobias
Perkin Research Medal, 1965
Science History Institute