Preserving the history of science

Preserving the history of science

  • Joseph da Costa Miranda’s Portuguese mariner’s compass (1711) held at the Whipple Museum
    Joseph da Costa Miranda’s Portuguese mariner’s compass (1711) held at the Whipple Museum

Image courtesy of Annie Lovett

Nearly 70 years after Robert Whipple’s donation of scientific instruments and rare books to the University, his grandchildren and their families have established a permanent conservation fund.

The fund will allow the Whipple Museum of the History of Science to commission specialist care for the varied and ever-expanding collection of over 7,000 items. A very rare Portuguese mariner’s compass made by Joseph da Costa Miranda in 1711 is one of the first items that will benefit from essential conservation work.

With the backing of the permanent conservation fund from the Whipple family, the Museum is also better able to leverage additional funding and support, including the completion of a conservation assessment of the Museum’s entire collection in 2013.

Professor Liba Taub, Director of the Museum, commented: “The Whipple Museum is not just a place to come and visit; this is a research lab. Objects in our collection are actively studied by students in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science, as well as other researchers.

"Of course, some things naturally deteriorate over time, and this fund will allow us to halt that decline, and ensure that the collection can continue to be used, studied, and enjoyed.”

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