The number of museums in Cambridge is limited compared to some cities but there are still some interesting attractions, see below:
Founded in 1884, the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology has one of the most impressive collections in the UK, spanning nearly two million years across all six inhabited continents. Of particular note is the large collection of objects from Captain Cook's voyages across the Pacific, and the most renowned collection of Fijian items outside Fiji itself. The Museum has been located in Downing Street since 1913 and redevelopment in 2012 improved its facilities considerably. The Museum has also been linked with the University of Cambridge for education and research since 1884 and many of the collections have been built up by students of archaeology and anthropology. The musueum is arranged into a number of sections; archaeological collections, anthropological collections, modern and contemporary art, photographic collections and archival material. There is a museum shop which stocks items inspired by the Museum's collections.
Part of Cambridge University's Zoology Department, the Museum of Zoology's collection is one of the most impressive in the world. The collection includes an enormous variety of recent and fossil animals. Permanent displays include the evolution of animal life, with exhibits such as skeletons of birds and mammals. The Darwin exhibition was opened in 2009, which displays specimens which were used and collected by Darwin himself, including his large collecton of British beetles and invertebrates collected during his Beagle voyage. Temporary exhhibitions are displayed at various times throughout the year, past exhibitions have included themes such as Carnivores of the World, Wings, Whiskers and Wonders and Wildlife Photographer of the Year. Photographic displays, art exhibitions, talks and family fun days are just some of the events that the Museum regularly organises. Full details of all permanent and temporary exhibitions can be found on the website. Zoologists Clubs, which are free to join, are run by the Musuem; Young Zoologists Club for 6 - 13 year olds, and the UMZC Zoology Club for 13 - 18 year olds. Both clubs include newsletters, workshops, invitations to special events, and more.
The Museum of Classical Archaeology houses one of the few remaining collections of plaster casts of Roman and Greek sculptures in the world. The Museum has around 450 casts, housed in the University Classics Faculty in the purpose-built Gallery. None of the casts are originals, but all the famous works from the Classical world are included, along with many not so well know casts.
When Robert Whipple presented his collection of scientific instruments to Cambridge University in 1944, the Museum of the History of Science was founded. Today the Museum is home to apparatus, models, pictures, prints, photographs, books and other items relating to the history of science, as well as Robert Whipple's original collection of scientific instruments. The Museum houses objects dating from Medieval times, right up to present day. The majority of exhibits are from the 17th - 19th Century, including instruments of navigation, astronomy, surveying, drawing and calculating, together with sundials, mathematical instruments and early electrical instruments. Whipple Museum is part of the University's History and Philosophy of Science Department and is housed in a building which was constructed in 1618 and was previously an electrical laboratory, amongst other things. the carving above the front door reads 'Laboratory of Physical Chemistry' which is a reminder of another of its former uses. The exhibitions and displays are split into sections, including an interesting display of globes, from antique to present day, and an area set up as the Victorian Parlour of a family who would have been interested in science. The Museum occasionally holds events and the details of these, together with details of the permanent collections, can be found on the website.
The Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences celebrates 550 million years of Earth's history. The Museum is split into many fascinating sections dedicated to subject such as Life in the Jurassic Seas, the Solar System, Minerals, Ancient Life Fossils, Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Wildlife. The Museum is home to around 1.5 million fossils, rocks and mineral specimens from all over the world. In 1991 the Geological Conservation Unit was formed, which has a laboratory where conservation work is carried out to prepare specimens for display. The Museum organises events, such as talks by experts, the details of which can be found on the website, together with details of all permanent collections.
The Fitzwilliam Museum houses collections of antiquities and works of art spanning many civilisations and centuries. The collections are split into 30 galleries across two levels. The main collections are Antiquities, Applied Arts, Coins and Medals, Manuscripts and Printed Books and Paintings, Drawings and Prints. The Museum also often has temporary exhibitions, the details of which can be found on the website. The Fitzwilliam Museum originally opened in 1848 and remains in the same impressive building today. The Standing Commission on Museums described the Museum in 1968 as being 'one of the greatest art collections of the nation nd a momument of the first importance'. It takes its name from Richard, VII Viscount Fitzwilliam of Merrion, who bequeathed his library and collection of art to the University of Cambridge in 1816. The Museum also has a Reference Library, housing over 300,000 books, periodicals and catalogues relating to Antiquities, Applied Arts and Fine Arts. The Courtyard Cafe is open all day, serving teas and coffees, light lunches and sandwiches. The Courtyard Shop sells a wide range of souvenirs inspired by the collections within the Museum.
Based in the original sewage pumping station for Cambridge, the Museum of Technology exists to preserve and exhibit material that is relevant to the Cambridge area, either by its use or its invention.