Collections of Mathematical Models

Below you can find a list of collections of mathematical models that I have located. Most of them I have unfortunately never seen in person. I am sure this list is incomplete, so if you find sites with models that should be added to this list, please email me (
Centro de Matemática e Aplicações Fundamentais (CMAF – University of Lisbon)
The CMAF has copies of models of ruled surfaces from the Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers made around 1864, and they has working reproductions made. They used to have a webpage up about the models, but that seems to have dissapeared.
Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers in Paris (France)
The Conservatoire had a series of string models in 1830 and tThey still have many interesting objects, including models of surfaces, many by Theodore Olivier. See their catalogue (in French).
Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen
Has several photographs of Brill/Schilling models online. According to their website, Alexander Brill was a professor of math at Tübingen which lead to the development of their collection.
Fairfield University in Connecticut (US)
Seems to have some models — the website for Joseph F. MacDonnell, S.J. contains pictures and analysis of some models.
Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts (US)
Harvard has a number of plaster models from the Brill/Schilling catalogs in a glass case in the mathematics department. The case in on the fourth floor of the science center, in the math department lounge.
Martin-Luther-Universtät Halle-Wittenberg (Germany)
Their web page (in German) on the history of the mathematics department has an item for their historical collection of mathematical models, but links have not been provided.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts (US)
There are models in cases at MIT in the mathematics building (building #2). These models have recently been restored by the mathematics department, and a few years ago I cataloged the collection. The models are mainly plaster models from the Brill catalog (although there are a couple of Schilling models).
Poincare Institute in Paris (France)
Man Ray photographed some of the models at the Poincare Institute. The library says that they still have over 400 models, some of which are on permanent display (and a couple of which are pictured on the website). See their web site.
The Science Museum in London (UK)
In 1876 there was an exhibition of scientific apparatus at the South Kensington Museum, which eventually became the Science Museum. Many mathematical models were exhibited, and the museum still has a large collection. Henry Moore was inspired by models at the science museum. There is an online exhibition of surfaces as well, and other photos of surfaces can be found in the Science and Society Picture Library.
Smithsonian Institute, Washington DC (US)
Has a pretty extensive collection of models in the National Museum of American History but most are not on display. Peggy Kidwell curates the mathematics collection and knows a lot about the models. There is a virtual exhibit titled Slates, Slides, Rules, and Software: Teaching Math in America that contains some models.
Union College (US)
Union College has a large collection of models built by Theodore Olivier. They used to have an impressive online display and history created by a student, but it has dissapeared from their website.
Technischen Universität Dresden (Germany)
Has a great collection of over 400 models some of which are viewable online. According to their website, the collection was established after World War II, but they were able to aquire a large number of models from the Martin Schilling publishing house when it went out of business in 1960.
Università degli Studi di Torino (Italy)
According to it’s website, the applied math department has a collection of 180 models of various different makes (but many from the Brill/Schilling catalogs). There is a very nice complete catalog in italian online maintained by Nicla Palladino.
Universität Regensburg (Germany)
Has models, used to have an online display, which I can no longer find.
University of Arizona (US)
The mathematics department has a great web site on thier collection with lots of pictures. Many of their models were made by Richard Baker, and American model-builder.
University of Groningen (Netherlands)
This university, along with several others in the Netherlands, have a number of models and have put up a nice collection online. There are photos, organized by series in the Schilling catalog, along with extensive information about each model.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne (US)
Has an outstanding collection in Altgeld Hall, see their website.
University of Tokyo (Japan)
The University of Tokyo, Graduate School of Mathematical Sciences, has a collection of models that are said to have been imported from Germany by Prof Senkichi NAKAGAWA around 1910. You can find some photos and other information on their website. Thanks to Yoshiaki ARAKI (who is involved in modeling of 3D quasi-fuchsian fractals) for the tip. Some of these models were photographed by photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto  (see online display at New York Times Magazine).
Vienna University of Technology (Technische Universität Wien)
Has a collection of over 200 mathematical models. An online display contains a handful of photographs and a history of the models.
Wellesley College (US)
Wellesley has a number of (approx 50) models of polyhedra in plastic. Some have stickers saying “A. Harry Wheeler” on them, and I suspect that all were from a collection created or sold by Wheeler. They also have a couple of plastic models showing intersections of surfaces with stickers saying “Unterrights Modelle” and that they were made in Germany. There were five stringed models of ruled surfaces with aluminum frames. The Wellesley College Bulletin for the 1925-26 school year  notes (p. 144), “The [mathematics] department has a collection of 45 Brill-Schilling models of surfaces, chiefly of the second and third orders, beside [sic] several simple models, including some made by its members.”

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