79th Birthday of Museum Boerhaave

Today is the birthday of Museum Boerhaave! The museum first opened its doors on June 5th 1931.

Just a little insight in the history of the museum:

Museum Boerhaave owes its existence to an initiative of the physicist C.A. Crommelin and the zoologist C.J. van der Klaauw. Both were employed at the University of Leiden. Concerned about the preservation of the valuable old instruments, they founded the Netherlands Historical Science Museum in 1928. The University granted the loan of a part of its scientific heritage to the museum. Accommodation was found in a former laboratory in the grounds of the old Academic Hospital on the town walls of Leiden. The museum first opened its doors to the public in 1931.

The origins of Museum Boerhaave lay in the University of Leiden, and first-class collections were shown. The museum was not a university museum though. The plan was to establish a national collection. The growing museum was difficult to run as a private institution and in 1947 the National Museum of the History of Science became a state museum.

The present name, Museum Boerhaave, was chosen in 1976. Herman Boerhaave (1668-1738) was a famous Leiden professor in medicine, botany and chemistry. In 1988 the museum moved to a new location, the Caecilia Hospital. In this hospital, Boerhaave teached his students medicine from the bedside of his patients. This is still the present location of the museum.

Next year we’ll celebrate the museums 80th birthday!

Vera

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