The richest collection of instruments in the world


This is one of the treasures of the Musée Océanographique. 

This treasure is actually here thanks to the founder, Prince Albert I of Monaco. The Prince actually designed and used these measurement and analysis instruments during his many explorations at sea.


Prince Albert I of Monaco was not only a scientist and explorer, he was also an inventor.

He was passionate about the study of the oceans, but at the end of the 19th century there was not a lot of specific equipment available. So Prince Albert I decided to invent what he needed himself. He worked with partners and as their research progressed, so did his inventions.

By developing his own instruments for collecting, measuring and mapping, the “Prince of the Seas” was also contributing to technological progress in oceanography. Other instruments were also acquired from foreign manufacturers, who were famous in the Prince’s era.

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Prince Albert Ier


Yes, that’s right, these are prototypes. Most of these instruments were tested in the Mediterranean and were used during the 28 explorations led by the famous Founder of the Institut Océanographique de Monaco.
They are carefully preserved by the Museum, and often brought out to be showcased to the public. Some of the most remarkable pieces can be seen in the collection for the exhibition Monaco and the Ocean – from exploration to protection.

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This one-of-a-kind collection in the world also bears witness to the evolution of science and techniques since the beginning of the 19th century.
The acquisition of more recent pieces has added to the wealth of this collection, which was completely restored in the 80s, at the same time as the creation of a catalogue in several volumes which lists the entire content of the collection.

As well as oceanography equipment, this collection also includes instruments such as binoculars and microscopes. Thanks to this collection, the Museum has at its fingertips, all the means that scientists of bygone days had available for their research.

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