Since 2008 I have been heavily involved in the University of Toronto Scientific Instrument Collection, an institution that a handful of us graduate students at the IHPST founded in order to preserve, catalogue, research, and display the rich scientific history of the University of Toronto.
I am presently co-director of the UTSIC and I can honestly say that my work with the Collection has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my academic life.
Having built the Collection from the ground up has exposed me (and my colleagues) to a host of activities that we would otherwise never have engaged in. From meticulously cataloging and photographing hundreds of instruments to curating exhibitions and organizing conferences, from drafting collection policies to going on “treasure hunting” expeditions to seek out lost artifacts hidden throughout the campus, my work with UTSIC has exposed me to a spectrum of museological experiences that few historians and philosophers of science get to experience.
Although I’m constantly telling myself to step back from the Collection and focus on my other research, it’s simply too engaging a project to let go.
You can visit the UTSIC website here. There, you’ll find our online instrument catalogue, news and findings, videos, and online displays (to come).