Online Museum Collections in the Mathematics Classroom – Resources and About the Authors

Amy Ackerberg-Hastings (University of Maryland University College) and Amy Shell-Gellasch (Montgomery College)


Adler Planetarium. Webster Signature Database. Provides brief information on the makers of instruments owned by a variety of museums.

Booker, Peter Jeffrey. A History of Engineering Drawing. London: Chatto & Windus, 1963. Discusses the development of the subject and its teaching in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Bud, Robert, and Deborah Jean Warner, eds. Instruments of Science: An Historical Encyclopedia. New York and London: Garland Publishing, 1998.

Dawes, Howard. Instruments of the Imagination: A history of drawing instruments in Britain, 16001850. The Dawes Trust Ltd., 2009. Collector's discussion of historical drawing instruments, particularly those used in architecture.

Dickinson, H. W. “A Brief History of Draughtsmen's Instruments.” Transactions of the Newcomen Society 27 (1949–1951): 73–84. Overview of the major types of instruments used in surveying and engineering drawing.

Hambly, Maya. Drawing Instruments, 15801980. London: Sotheby's Publications, 1988. Thorough and richly illustrated treatment of a full range of instruments.

Heather, J.F. Mathematical Instruments: Their Construction, Adjustment, Testing, and Use. Rev. ed. 3 vol. London: Crosby Lockwood and Co., 1870. Describes the manufacture and use of various calculating and drawing instruments.

Kidwell, Peggy A., Amy Ackerberg-Hastings, and David L. Roberts. Tools of American Mathematics Teaching, 1800-2000. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008.

Kiely, Edmond R. Surveying Instruments: Their History and Classroom Use. National Council of Teachers of Mathematics 19th Yearbook. New York: Bureau of Publications, Teachers College, Columbia University, 1947.

Riches, David M.Mathematical Instruments: A Private Collection. Riches is a collector who has gathered photos and information on a variety of scientific and drawing instruments.

Shell-Gellasch, Amy, ed. Hands on History: A Resource for Teaching Mathematics. Mathematical Association of America Notes No. 72. Washington, DC, 2007.

Shell-Gellasch, Amy, and Richard Jardine, eds. From Calculus to Computers: Using the Last 200 Years of Mathematical History in the Classroom. Mathematical Association of America Notes No. 68. Washington, DC, 2005.

Stanley, Philip E., ed. A Source Book for Rule Collectors. Mendham, N.J.: Astragal Press, 2003. Compilation of articles on various types of rulers, reprints of primary sources, and other historical accounts.

Stanley, William Ford. Mathematical Drawing and Measuring Instruments. 6th ed. London: E. & F. N. Spon, 1888. Classic 19th-century treatise on the manufacture and operation of various instruments.

About the Authors

Amy Ackerberg-Hastings earned a Ph.D. in the history of technology and science from Iowa State University in 2000 and teaches historical research methods and writing at the University of Maryland University College. From 2011 to 2013, she was a project assistant at the National Museum of American History, where she prepared ten of the object groups profiled in this article. She has written about the history of mathematical instruments for the MAA, the Canadian Society for History and Philosophy of Mathematics, the Johns Hopkins University Press, and the International Journal on the History of Mathematics Education.

Amy Shell-Gellasch received her Doctor of Arts degree in mathematics from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2000, teaches mathematics at Montgomery College in Rockville, MD, and serves as a Behind-the-Scenes volunteer at the National Museum of American History. She has edited three MAA volumes on using history to teach mathematics: From Calculus to Computers: Using the Last 200 Years of Mathematics History in the Classroom, Hands on History: A Resource for Teaching Mathematics, and Mathematical Time Capsules.