The items of the highest international value are from the UNESCO world heritage site, the Old Observatory (the great Fraunhofer Refractor, the Arabic celestial globe, the instruments of Herschel, Dollond and Reichenbach – all constructed by world-renowned scientists whose equipment is rare in the world today) and the 19th century apparatuses and laboratory equipment of the Faculties of Physics and Chemistry.
The Museum highly values the University’s locally constructed scientific equipment which are unique in the world and key to the history of science in Estonia. For example, the physics and meteorological equipment (Parrot’s portable travel barometer, scales, thickness measurer, thermometers, etc.) made by 19th century craftsmen (Schulze, Brücker, etc.); the Golitsyn-Vilip seismograph from the first half of the 20th century (used all over the world) and many other apparatuses constructed in Hugo Masing’s factory for precision mechanics in Tartu; the products of the University’s experimental laboratories from the second half of the 20th century, constructed in its workshop and in industrial factories all over the Soviet Union. The scientific achievements of the University’s researchers during this century which have found practical implementation are also highly valued, such smart glass, radiation-sensitive material, diagnosis apparatus for cataract, ME-3 bacteria, myometer (used all over the world), different smart robots, etc.
The preservation of the University’s scientific achievements and locally invented equipment along with understanding the scientific ideas they are based on are one of the main priorities of the Museum collections.