Research Facilities

The University of Minnesota is a major research university with a strong commitment to excellence. The University library system is one of the nation's major depositories, containing 8.2 million volumes, 114,000 serial subscriptions, and a number of special collections. The system offers extensive resources for research in history of science, technology, and medicine. The University also houses important manuscripts and papers in the Social Welfare History Archives, the Immigration History Research Center, and the Charles Babbage Institute. The University of Minnesota is one of a small number of Libraries of Deposit in the world -- and the only one in the Midwest -- for the Archive for the History of Quantum Physics. The Wangensteen Historical Library of Biology and Medicine contains 80,000 rare volumes and periodicals from 1420 to 1925 of significance to the history of medicine, science, and technology.  Other special collections used by students include the Social Welfare History Archives, the Immigration History Research Center, the Northwest Architectural Archives, and the James Ford Bell Collection of rare books on European commerce, technology, and expansion.

Because the University is located in a metropolitan area with nearly three million people, researchers have access to two large municipal libraries, the large archival and photograph collections of the Minnesota Historical Society and the James J. Hill Reference Library, which has a special interest in the history of technology, economics, and business. The Bakken Museum, a private research center with excellent collections of historical electrical apparatus and an outstanding rare book and manuscript collection, maintains strong ties to our program. The collections and records of the Science Museum of Minnesota provide opportunities for museum experience and research on topics from anthropology to zoology.

Among the research facilities associated with the program is the Charles Babbage Institute (CBI), whose director is also a faculty member in the program.  CBI conducts a research program that focuses on the development and infrastructure of information technology. To facilitate research in the field, CBI promotes the development of archival collections.  CBI now maintains the largest publicly accessible research collection of corporate, professional, and individual papers, product literature, oral histories, and audio-visual materials about the history of information technology.  CBI also sponsors the Tomash Fellowship in the History of Information Technology, the Norberg Travel Fund, and the Tomash Fellowship for a University of Minnesota graduate student studying the history of technology.