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The Scientific Instrument Society celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2008. Founded to bring together collectors, curators, dealers and academic historians, it promotes the study of historical scientific instruments by organising meetings and visits, and publishing a quarterly Bulletin. To mark the anniversary, the Museum and the Society have staged a collaborative exhibition, intended to recognise the complementary work of museums and collectors.

Instruments are preserved in museum collections but many more live on through the enthusiasm and commitment of individuals and the commercial activities of dealers and auction houses. Museums cannot accept everything they are offered, so both spheres have a role to play in preserving the material culture of science.

Some 20 members of the Society have lent instruments for display; this is a unique opportunity to see items normally in private collections. At the core of the exhibition were three showcases in the Museum’s entrance gallery, but other instruments were added to the permanent display throughout the Museum. This web version presents all the items lent for the exhibition.

SIS 25 gallery plan