The collection of around 3,000 historical scientific instruments is one of the most diverse collections of historical scientific instruments in any British University, closely associated with teaching and research in natural philosophy.
The 18th and 19th century objects cover numerous subject areas, notably astronomy, surveying and navigation, statics and dynamics, properties of matter, pneumatics and hydraulics, electrostatics, current electricity and magnetism, optics, heat, acoustics, meteorology.
The 20th century collection is a major strength, including additional themes such as:
- Electronic instruments and measurements
- Measuring radioactivity
- Precision instrumentation
- Computational machines
- Optical equipment