【Off-site】UMUT Mobilemuseum “Japan’s First University Museum: 1880–1885 at the Dawn of the University of Tokyo”

Chiyoda Ward Office, 6F, Corridor in front of the Mayor's Office

As part of the tenth-anniversary celebration of the Intermediatheque (IMT) located in Chiyoda Ward, this Mobilemuseum exhibition has come to fruition through the collaboration with Chiyoda Ward. This marks the first regional and academic collaborative project between UMUT, responsible for curatorial activities at IMT, and Chiyoda Ward.

Organizer: The University Museum, the University of Tokyo (UMUT)

Access to the Chiyoda Ward Office:

●About Japan’s First University Museum
Founded in 1877, the University of Tokyo initially resided in present-day Chiyoda Ward. Edward Sylvester Morse (1838–1925), an American zoologist and foreign professor instrumental in introducing modern Western education and research to the University of Tokyo in its early years, proposed the establishment of a university museum. In 1880, the “Scientific Museum” was inaugurated at the Department of Science of the University of Tokyo, marking the birth of Japan’s first university museum.
The museum initially served university classes and student studies before opening to the public during the second National Industrial Exhibition in 1881. The galleries featured eight sections: Mineralogy, Geology and Paleontology; Zoology; Botany; Archaeology and Anthropology; Manufacturing Chemistry Specimens; Civil and Mechanical Engineering Models; and Mining and Metallurgy Models, showcasing over 30,000 specimens and models.
Morse, who had left Japan after retiring from the University of Tokyo in 1879, revisited the country in 1882. Upon seeing the completed Scientific Museum, he noted in his diary, “The Museum was in far better condition than I had expected to find it, though I can see that my help will brighten it a little.” However, the Scientific Museum’s existence was brief, closing in July 1885 when the Department of Science relocated to Hongō (the current campus).
Nevertheless, the legacy of the university museum, established in Chiyoda Ward, continues today. Since its inception, the Scientific Museum diligently catalogued specimens in each field. Currently, the University Museum, the University of Tokyo (UMUT), houses a substantial collection of specimens catalogued in Mineralogy, Geology, Paleontology, and Archaeology. Some of the Archaeology specimens from the catalogue are displayed at the Main Building of UMUT on the Hongō Campus in Bunkyō Ward and at the Intermediatheque in Marunouchi, Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo.

Special Presentation “The Morse Pottery Collection in Tokyo – Let him begin to collect, however.”
Intermediatheque 3F [MODULE]

●About Mobilemuseum
Based on the concept of bringing museums out into society, the Mobilemuseum exhibitions have been developed around the world as a project to lead a new networked spatial philosophy developed in different locations around the world as a collaboration by UMUT and various collaborators.

Back to index