Cambridge Trip #8: Darwin’s Microscope at the Whipple Museum of the History of Science

Monday, 13 July 2009

Following a visit to the University Museum of Zoology in Cambridge, Richard and I headed over to the Whipple Museum of the History of Science to see the exhibit featuring Darwin’s microscope. On the way there, we checked out the Cambridge University Press Bookshop and spotted some interesting history of science spots:

Cambridge, England

Cambridge, England

Mobile Library, Cambridge, England

Mobile Library, Cambridge, England

At the bookshop, Richard went crazy and spent a deal on some Darwin books, including the not-so-cheap Charles Darwin’s Notebooks from the Voyage of the Beagle, edited by Gordon Chancellor and John van Wyhe. I bought one book, Charles Darwin: The Beagle Letters.

Darwin Display, Cambridge University Press Bookshop, Cambridge, England

Darwin Display, Cambridge University Press Bookshop, Cambridge, England

Darwin Display, Cambridge University Press Bookshop, Cambridge, England

Darwin Display, Cambridge University Press Bookshop, Cambridge, England

History of Science, Cambridge University Press Bookshop, Cambridge, England

History of Science, Cambridge University Press Bookshop, Cambridge, England

Ladybird Beetle, Cambridge, England

Ladybird Beetle, Cambridge, England

Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge, England

Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge, England

Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge, England

Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge, England

Plaque for J.J. Thompson, Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge, England

Plaque for J.J. Thompson, Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge, England

Crooked Doorway, Cambridge, England

Crooked Doorway, Cambridge, England

The Whipple Museum, which is in the same building that houses the Department of History and Philosophy of Science:

The Whipple Museum, University of Cambridge

The Whipple Museum, University of Cambridge

Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge

Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge

The exhibit Darwin’s Microscope (much more than a microscope was on display):

Darwins Microscope, Whipple Museum, University of Cambridge

Darwin's Microscope, Whipple Museum, University of Cambridge

Darwins Microscope, Whipple Museum, University of Cambridge

Darwin's Microscope, Whipple Museum, University of Cambridge

Darwins achromatic compound microscope, Whipple Museum, University of Cambridge

Darwin's achromatic compound microscope, Whipple Museum, University of Cambridge

Darwins achromatic compound microscope, Whipple Museum, University of Cambridge

Darwin's achromatic compound microscope (1847) for his barnacle research, Whipple Museum, University of Cambridge

Microscope slide storage, Whipple Museum, University of Cambridge

Microscope slide storage, Whipple Museum, University of Cambridge

Letter from Darwin to J.D. Hooker about the microscope, Whipple Museum of the History of Science, University of Cambridge

Letter from Darwin to J.D. Hooker about the microscope, Whipple Museum of the History of Science, University of Cambridge

Vol. II of Darwins A monograph on the sub-class Cirripedia (barnacles), Whipple Museum, University of Cambridge

Vol. II of Darwin's 'A monograph on the sub-class Cirripedia' (barnacles), Whipple Museum, University of Cambridge

In the same display case as the compound microscope were a bunch of evolutionary books and an older compound microscope similar to one Darwin had at Cambridge in the 1830s:

Older compound microscope, Whipple Museum, University of Cambridge

Older compound microscope, Whipple Museum, University of Cambridge

Evolutionary books, Whipple Museum, University of Cambridge

Evolutionary books, Whipple Museum, University of Cambridge

Evolutionary books, Whipple Museum, University of Cambridge

Evolutionary books, Whipple Museum, University of Cambridge

Part of this exhibit showcased The Darwin Correspondence Project, based at Cambridge (they have just published the 17th volume):

Darwin Correspondence Project display, Whipple Museum, University of Cambridge

Darwin Correspondence Project display, Whipple Museum, University of Cambridge

Darwin Correspondence Project display, Whipple Museum, University of Cambridge

Darwin Correspondence Project display, Whipple Museum, University of Cambridge

Darwin Correspondence Project display, Whipple Museum, University of Cambridge

Darwin Correspondence Project display, Whipple Museum, University of Cambridge

Darwin Correspondence Project display, Whipple Museum, University of Cambridge

Darwin Correspondence Project display, Whipple Museum, University of Cambridge

This image is not from the correspondence project, but from Richard, who, the day before leaving for Cambridge, ordered the new volume from his local bookshop, not realizing that he would be visiting the Cambridge University Press’s bookshop. Oh well.

Richards Darwin Correspondence Collection

Richard's Darwin Correspondence Collection

One display in the exhibit showcased in drawers a wide variety of Darwin memorabilia:

Darwin memorabilia, Whipple Museum, University of Cambridge

Darwin memorabilia, Whipple Museum, University of Cambridge

Darwin memorabilia, Whipple Museum, University of Cambridge

Darwin memorabilia, Whipple Museum, University of Cambridge

Darwin memorabilia, Whipple Museum, University of Cambridge

Darwin memorabilia, Whipple Museum, University of Cambridge

The caricature print in the image above I discussed in a post on my other blog, Transcribing Tyndall.

Darwin memorabilia, Whipple Museum, University of Cambridge

Darwin memorabilia, Whipple Museum, University of Cambridge

Darwin memorabilia, Whipple Museum, University of Cambridge

Darwin memorabilia, Whipple Museum, University of Cambridge

Darwin memorabilia, Whipple Museum, University of Cambridge

Darwin memorabilia, Whipple Museum, University of Cambridge

Darwin memorabilia, Whipple Museum, University of Cambridge

Darwin memorabilia, Whipple Museum, University of Cambridge

Darwin memorabilia, Whipple Museum, University of Cambridge

Darwin memorabilia, Whipple Museum, University of Cambridge

Darwin memorabilia, Whipple Museum, University of Cambridge

Darwin memorabilia, Whipple Museum, University of Cambridge

Another display showed late nineteenth-century responses to Darwin:

Responses to Darwin, Whipple Museum, University of Cambridge

Responses to Darwin, Whipple Museum, University of Cambridge

The caricature print above was also featured in the same post on Transcribing Tyndall.

Responses to Darwin, Whipple Museum, University of Cambridge

Responses to Darwin, Whipple Museum, University of Cambridge

Responses to Darwin, Whipple Museum, University of Cambridge

Responses to Darwin, Whipple Museum, University of Cambridge

Various posters and wall hangings:

Darwin wall hangings, Whipple Museum, University of Cambridge

Darwin wall hangings, Whipple Museum, University of Cambridge

Darwin wall hangings, Whipple Museum, University of Cambridge

Darwin wall hangings, Whipple Museum, University of Cambridge

Darwin wall hangings, Whipple Museum, University of Cambridge

Darwin wall hangings, Whipple Museum, University of Cambridge

Darwin wall hangings, Whipple Museum, University of Cambridge

Darwin wall hangings, Whipple Museum, University of Cambridge

Some shots from the rest of the museum:

Anatomical model of a fetus, Whipple Museum, University of Cambridge

Anatomical model of a fetus, Whipple Museum, University of Cambridge

Natural history displays, Whipple Museum, University of Cambridge

Natural history displays, Whipple Museum, University of Cambridge

Whipple Museum of the History of Science, University of Cambridge

Whipple Museum of the History of Science, University of Cambridge

Telescope, Whipple Museum, University of Cambridge

Telescope, Whipple Museum, University of Cambridge

Newton wants your money, Whipple Museum, University of Cambridge

Newton wants your money, Whipple Museum, University of Cambridge

R.S. Whipple, Founder of the Whipple Museum, University of Cambridge

R.S. Whipple, Founder of the Whipple Museum, University of Cambridge

After the Whipple Museum, we weren’t sure what to do next. Around the corner from the museum we ran into John van Wyhe, one of the Darwin historians I met at the conference (and owner of a Darwin groupie bike), as he was headed to his office at the building where the Whipple Museum is:

John van Wyhe, University of Cambridge

John van Wyhe, University of Cambridge. Photo by Richard Carter

Although it was Monday and Darwin’s room at Christ’s College was not open to the public, he quickly treated Richard and I to a look (other pictures from Christ’s I posted here). John was, after all, in charge of the restoration. Richard was also delighted to get his Beagle notebook signed by one of its editors. I will share photos from Darwin’s room in the next post.

You can view all the photos from my trip here, if you feel so inclined. Some of Richard’s Cambridge photos are here.

PREVIOUS: Cambridge Trip #7: Beetles, Finches and Barnacles at the University Museum of ZoologyCambridge Trip #6: Darwin the Geologist at the Sedgwick Museum of Earth SciencesCambridge Trip #5: Darwin Groupies Explore CambridgeCambridge Trip #4: Darwin in the Field Conference, Pt. 2Cambridge Trip #3: Darwin in the Field ConferenceCambridge Trip #2: Finding My WayCambridge Trip #1: Traveling

1 thought on “Cambridge Trip #8: Darwin’s Microscope at the Whipple Museum of the History of Science

  1. Pingback: Cambridge Trip #9: Darwin’s Room at Christ’s College « The Dispersal of Darwin

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