Museum Monday: Scientific Instruments at SFO

SFO Museum : Equinoctial inclining sundial  c. 1865

SFO Museum exhibits rare 19th to early 20th-century scientific instruments

SFO Museum: Double-scope theodolite  c. 1890–1910

The newest exhibition from the SFO Museum at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) is filled with rare mid-nineteenth century to early twentieth-century scientific instruments.

At a glance, they are clearly works of mechanical know-how and art. But these objects also tell a story about the emergence of modern science and the specialized instruments scientists built and used to explore the world.

From the exhibition release:

When modern science emerged in the seventeenth century, scientists invented specialized instruments to explore the world and universe in a closer, more logical manner. These intriguing devices facilitated the careful study of almost all facets of life through the research and demonstration of ideas and theories. During the nineteenth century, new technologies allowed for the precision manufacturing of scientific instruments. An array of instruments assisted some of the most brilliant minds on Earth as scientists made early discoveries in the fields of electrodynamics and atomic theory.

This exhibition in the Harvey Milk Terminal 1 of the San Francisco International Airport displays a selection of antique scientific instruments and explores their uses. Dates: September 11, 2021, to April 3, 2022.  The exhibit is accessible to ticketed passengers but non-ticketed guests may get access by emailing curator@flysfo.com.

SFO Museum: Geissler tube rotator [with modern tube]  late 19th century
SFO Museum: Helmholtz resonators  c. 1890

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