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The University of Toronto Scientific Instruments Collection consists of a series of collections of collections, sub-collections, and thematic collections.  For details on this arrangement, click the link below. For a short description of any individual collection, click the information link beside the collection name.

Each collection represents a particular context through which its constituent artifacts were assembled. These circumstances can be very different. For instance, one collection may contain artifacts accumulated at a major university department of many decades. Another may contain artifacts gathered by a single professor over the course of a career. Each collection and sub-collection has been given a short introductory description and detailed description that you may access below.


In many cases, collections may be organized in a hierarchical arrangement in which an overall collection includes one or more subcollections. This is often the case when a particular department or faculty’s holdings include individual collections of materials with a distinct historical provenance. For instance, the Koenig Acoustical Collection, a subcollection of the overall Physics collection, includes artifacts made in a single Parisian workshop belonging to instrument maker Rudolph Koenig that were purchased by the University of Toronto in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Thematic Collections

In some cases, artifacts from many collections may be grouped together into a thematic collection in order to better explore a particular theme or technology. These thematic collections may be created as part of a research project or exhibit.  Each is accompanied by a detailed description.

The Collections