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Museum Records

Reference Code: GBR/0279/CPS 8

Scope and Contents

By the late 1830s the Cambridge Philosophical Society had acquired, through donations and purchases, a sizeable museum of natural history, comprising collections of British birds, shells, fish and insects, together with fish, insects and various curiosities from China, South America and elsewhere. The Society employed a curator to look after the collections. Apart from several hundred species of fish presented by Charles Darwin, however, the museum never really attained scientific importance. In 1865 it was donated to the University of Cambridge and formed the basis of the University’s Museum of Zoology.
There are no surviving records deriving solely and directly from Museum administration and activities, although there are a few items relevant to the Museum listed here. The Museum is, however, referred to in other records of the Cambridge Philosophical Society: see, for example:
CPS 1/1/2, containing Leonard Jenyns’ account of the establishment of the Museum, circa 1838;
CPS 3/1, minutes of general meetings, which include a record of early donations to the Society;
CPS 5/2/2/1, Treasurer’s Account Book, containing Museum Fund accounts, 1838-65;
CPS 5/4/2, containing a note of the Curator’s salary, 1851;
CPS 6/3/2/14, subscription book including a list of those subscribing to the Museum Fund, 1841;
CPS 7/2/9, containing regulations for the attendance of the Curator in the Society’s house, circa 1850;
CPS 9/2/3, two volumes recording donations to the Library and Museum, 1851-1874;
CPS 11/3/1/2, including a list of ten stuffed birds formerly belonging to the Society displayed at an exhibition at the Museum of Zoology exhibition in 1982.


  • 1847 - 1865


2 file(s) : paper

Language of Materials



Cambridge Philosophical Society

2015-05-08 08:29:52+00:00
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge Philosophical Society Repository

Executive Secretary, Beverley Larner
c/o Whipple Library, Dept of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge
Free School Lane
Cambridge CB2 3RH
+44 (0)1223 334547