The core mission of the Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments is to preserve, document, and care for over 20,000 instruments portraying the history of science teaching and research at Harvard from the Colonial period to the 21st century. Through its lively exhibit and teaching programs, web presence, and increasing involvement in critical media practices, the CHSI’s research activities and cultural initiatives intersect and bring together a multiplicity of academic disciplines and areas of professional museum expertise. The CHSI is both a specialized institution and an experimental space, where Harvard Faculty and students, instrument scholars and museum experts meet in the production of object-based knowledge.
Under the Harvard Museums of Science & Culture initiative, the CHSI is connecting as well with the wider Harvard Community and the general public. Our ambition is to continue and enhance our participation with FAS museums in producing exhibits, lecture series, public events, and projects that clearly emphasize to a broad audience the interdisciplinary nature of the material culture of science and society.