AIP History Center Newsletter
Volume XXXII, No. 2, Fall 2000


Research on Electricity, Magnetism and the Life Sciences Resumes at the Bakken
by Kathleen Klehr

The Bakken Library and MuseumAn expansion and renovation project at the Bakken Library and Museum in Minneapolis has brought improvements that have significantly enhanced library and museum storage, access, and services. Completed in 1999, the $6 million project doubled the total size of the Bakken and included the construction of two new classrooms, an education workshop, three exhibit galleries and an aquarium for electric fish. A beautiful new reading room was added to the south end of the original building, and two existing adjacent library rooms were also renovated and rearranged. Together with the new reading room, they constitute a quieter, better organized library suite that for the first time permits direct access of researchers to the entire secondary and reference collections. A photocopy machine has also been added for more convenient duplication services.

The focus of the Bakken’s collections is the history of electricity and magnetism and their applications in the life sciences and medicine. Related materials include mesmerism and animal magnetism, 19th-century ephemera concerning alternative electromedical therapies, miscellaneous scientists’ letters, and trade catalogs. The instruments include electrostatic generators, magneto-electric generators, induction coils, physiological instruments, recording devices, and accessories. The Bakken offers Visiting Research Fellowships for the purpose of facilitating research in its collection of over 11,000 books, journals, manuscripts, and prints, as well as more than 2,000 scientific instruments.

A catalog of books and manuscripts, as well as information on research fellowships may be found on the Bakken’s Web site, or at no charge by contacting our Librarian. For information about conducting research at the Bakken, contact Elizabeth Ihrig, Librarian, at Or you may call 612-926-3878, ext. 227, or send your request, along with your name and mailing address to: Elizabeth Ihrig, The Bakken Library and Museum, 3537 Zenith Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55416-4623. Appointments are recommended in order to ensure the best service.

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