Whipple Museum of the History of Science

The Main Gallery of the Whipple Museum
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The Whipple Museum holds a pre-eminent collection of scientific instruments and models, dating from the Middle Ages to the present. The Main Gallery of the Museum is housed in a large hall with Jacobean hammer-beam roof-trusses, built in 1618 as the first Cambridge Free School. Other galleries include 'discover', which displays a wide array of scientific instruments, the new Victorian Parlour, with plenty of handling activities for children, and the Reserve Gallery, which is open during school holidays. The Museum is part of the Department of History and Philosophy of Science and plays an important part in the Department’s teaching and research.

The entire collection of this museum is a Designated Collection of national importance.

Venue Type:


Opening hours

Mon to Fri 12.30-16.30

Sat, Sun and Bank Holidays. The Museum is also closed for a period over Christmas - visitors are advised to check beforehand.

Admission charges

Free admission

Additional info

Educational gallery trails and handling activities for children are available.

The Museum has a small shop selling a range of publications and postcards.

The entire collection of this museum is a Designated Collection of national importance.

The Designated collections of this museum play a central role in the teaching and research of the Department of the History and Philosophy of Science. Visitors can see a variety of displays created by staff and students. Microscopes and telescopes, sundials, early slide rules, pocket electronic calculators, teaching and demonstration apparatus, scientific toys, as well as laboratory equipment are included in the collections.

The holdings represent diverse but interrelated scientific and cultural activities over a broad span of time. The Whipple Museum supports and encourages a wide range of people in the study of the history of science in its material and cultural contexts, including school children and enthusiasts, historians, philosophers and practising scientists.

The Main Gallery houses several large instruments, such as the 18th century Grand Orrery built by George Adams and a 10ft telescope dating from c.1790 by William Herschel.

Collection details

Science and Technology

Key artists and exhibits

  • Designated Collection
Resources listed here may include websites, bookable tours and workshops, books, loan boxes and more. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all.

Gallery Challenge


Gallery Challenge is an engaging interactive online activity where you can create your own museum gallery. Find and choose objects, write labels, and arrange them in your display case.
The flexible interactive task introduces a range of ideas in both History and Science. Gallery Challenge is supported by worksheets and lesson notes, and by follow-up information about museums and higher education. The activity is freely available online and can also be downloaded to your computers. Support materials are specifically designed for use with History students in Year 9, but may be useful more widely.


  • Whipple Museum of the History of Science

Whipple Museum of the History of Science
Department of History and Philosophy of Science
Free School Lane






01223 330906


01223 334554

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.