The Whipple Museum forms part of the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge. The Museum plays an important part in the Department's teaching and research. It was founded in 1944 when Robert Stewart Whipple presented his collection of scientific instruments to the University of Cambridge. The Museum's collection is Designated for its international importance and includes scientific instruments, apparatus, models, pictures, prints, photographs, books and other material related to the history of science. The Museum's holdings are particularly strong in material dating from the 17th to the 19th centuries, especially objects produced by English instrument makers, although the collection contains objects dating from the medieval period to the present day. Instruments of astronomy, navigation, surveying, drawing and calculating are well represented, as are sundials, globes, mathematical instruments and early electrical apparatus. Since Robert Whipple's initial gift of the collection, the Museum has come to house many instruments formerly used in the Colleges and Departments of the University of Cambridge.
The Museum’s key aims are
- To preserve the material culture of the history of science, augmenting and conserving the collections as appropriate.
- To document, care for, and provide access to the collections.
- To interpret and research the material culture (and associated practice) of the history of science.
- To promote the use of material culture in academic study and research.
- To provide public engagement, learning and outreach opportunities.
The Museum prides itself on being both a world-leading centre for object- and collection-based teaching and research, and a public space for engaging diverse audiences of all ages and backgrounds. We actively support research into objects in our collection, and are proud to have championed a diverse array of scholarship in the history of science and its material culture.
East of England