Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments


Science-lovers and history buffs can geek out at this small but fascinating museum. Located inside the Harvard Science Center, it showcases a selection of the 20,000 items in the university collection, some of which date to the 15th century. Look for the geometric sector designed by Galileo, and the clocks illustrating the development of modern timekeeping.

The collection was actually compiled by one Benjamin Franklin, so add that to his résumé. Note that the exhibition is housed on three floors – the 1st-floor Putnam Gallery actually opens later than the others, so start upstairs if you arrive before 11am.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Cambridge attractions

1. Harvard Museum of Natural History

0.07 MILES

This institution is famed for its botanical galleries, featuring some 3000 pieces of handblown, intricately crafted glass flowers and plants. There is a…

2. Harvard Museums of Science & Culture

0.11 MILES

One ticket covers admission to both of the university's esteemed science museums: the Harvard Museum of Natural History, with the famed glass-flower…

3. Harvard University

0.13 MILES

America's oldest college, Harvard University is one of the country's most prestigious universities. It was originally founded in Harvard Yard in 1636 by…

4. John Harvard Statue

0.13 MILES

The centerpiece of Harvard Yard is this sculpture by Daniel Chester French, known as the `statue of three lies'. John Harvard was the university's first…

5. Harvard Hall

0.14 MILES

On the north side of Johnston Gate, Harvard Hall is one of the two oldest buildings on campus, dating to 1766. (The other is Massachusetts Hall, directly…

7. Massachusetts Hall

0.16 MILES

On the south side of Johnston Gate, Massachusetts Hall is the oldest building on the Harvard campus, dating from 1720. Originally it was a dormitory…

8. Harvard Yard

0.17 MILES

Harvard University was originally founded here in 1636, and Harvard Yard remains the historic and geographic heart of the university campus. Flanked by…