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The 1944 exhibition at the Old Schools, Cambridge

November 2019 marked the 75th anniversary of Robert Whipple's donation of scientific instruments and rare books to the University of Cambridge

In 1944, Robert S. Whipple (1871-1953) presented his collection of more than 1,000 scientific instruments and a similar number of related rare books to the University, hoping to promote history of science as a subject of study and research. In November of that year, an exhibition was held in the East Room of the Old Schools to mark the official presentation of R. S. Whipple's gift.

We are celebrating this with our 75th Anniversary Exhibition in our Special Exhibition Gallery, which explores the founding of the Whipple Museum and Library through objects, books and archive material.

From a small telescope bought in Tours to what is possibly the oldest armillary sphere in the world, this is a varied and intriguing collection. But what were Whipple's intentions and interests? And how has the collection helped shaped research in the History of Science?

Below is a tour of the exhibition led by Dr Josh Nall, Curator of Modern Sciences.


The exhibition will remain open in 2021, subject to Covid-19 restrictions on visiting.

Opening Times

Following Government guidance, all University of Cambridge Museums are closed until further notice, to help protect visitors, staff and the wider community