Humboldt State University ® Department of Chemistry

Robert A. Paselk Scientific Instrument Museum

About the Museum

Richard A. Paselk, curator

I have been collecting obsolete instruments, mostly from the Chemistry and Physics Departments, at HSU for a number of years. I currently have a wide variety of small instruments purchased between c.1925 and c.1980 refurbished and documented. I will continue to add instruments to the collection as they become available and documented. The focus of the museum is on science and science instruction at Humboldt, so all of the instruments in this "WWW museum," with the exception of some special exhibits (e.g. the Cheimal Refractometer), were used at Humboldt, and many are currently in the possession of the Museum. However, I have also included instruments which are still held by academic Departments at HSU, as well as instruments now in private collections.

In the summer of 2000 permanent display space was created for the museum in the Humboldt State University Library. Both permanent and rotating displays are housed in this space. A formal dedication ceremony for the Museum took place the evening of Friday, October 13, 2000.

In 2003 I began adding additional satelite display cabinets and exhibits. As of 2010 there are four cabinets in Science Building A in addition to the cases in the main display area in the Library. Other than the Curator's cabinet these cabinets dispaly instruments in close physical proximity to the labs where they were used or current labs where the appropriate skills are now taught.

Whenever possible the following information is provided for each instrument: 1) a photograph, 2) a brief paragraph on the usage and history of the instrument, 3) a detailed description of the instrument including its current condition, and 4) a scanned image of a contemporary vendor's catalog description of the instrument. Additional information may include the following: brief histories of manufacturers, contemporary and/or early descriptions of the instruments and their usage, documents pertaining to the specific instruments, and more detailed histories of the invention and development of select instruments.

The collections of this museum document the growth of science instruction at Humboldt, and the U.S. by reflection, as illustrated through its artifacts and documents.

Index of Instruments

Museum Home

Instrument Literature


HSTC (1921-34)
HSC (1935-1953)
HSC (1954-1973)
© R. Paselk - first posted Summer 2000
Last modified 19 September 2010