As Wellesley prepares to welcome a brand-new, state-of-the-art Science Center, students and faculty are rediscovering vintage science equipment dating back to the College’s earliest years. Among these historical touchstones are a dozen brass microscopes, the oldest of which date back to 1878, not long after the College was formed.
Founder Henry Durant acquired the microscopes as he sought to bolster Wellesley’s collection of instruments and materials to enliven students’ lab work. At the time, the scientific curriculum for undergraduates across the United States consisted largely of lectures. Wellesley was one of the first institutions to incorporate lab work into its undergraduate curriculum.
On May 15, student scientists brought a dozen of these instruments to President Paula Johnson’s office, where they will remain on display as a reminder of Wellesley’s path-breaking past.