This 7th volume in the Artefacts series—a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution, the Deutches Museum, and the London Science Museum—looks at a number of significant instruments that were created to serve various scientific purposes. The contributors examine the roles these instruments played both as scientific devices developed to advance our knowledge of the world and as cultural artifacts manufactured and used in specific settings.
Illuminating Instruments is a remarkable collection of insightful essays on the difficult task of exhibiting scientific instruments in museums. The volume is especially intriguing in its ability to reconstruct the function and historical context of diverse instruments, while making these often complex and arcane apparatuses understandable to a large audience. The editors understand well that scientific progress does not occur in a vacuum, and they develop in this book an outstanding model for the presentation of the material and cultural history of scientific instruments, experimental apparatuses, and laboratory life. -Paolo Galluzzi