Academic wall charts digitized

Published on
January 17, 2006

You may not have seen them being used, but you have certainly seen them before: beautifully coloured wall charts, used by the teacher to illustrate his words. During the last century and a half these pictures were frequently used during botany lessons at the university. They sketch an excellent picture of knowledge, research and teaching in the field of science in the Netherlands. 

The section Special Collections of  Wageningen UR Library has cooperated with the project Academic educational charts, a project for the preservation and digitalizing of these beautiful charts, of the Stichting Academisch Erfgoed (Academic Heritage Foundation) of the Universities of Amsterdam, Groningen, Leiden, Utrecht en Delft. Wageningen University is not partner in this project, but the “Wageningse” educational wall charts are considered a special and unique addition to the project. 

Together the Dutch universities have in their collections approx. 10,000 academic teaching charts. Subjects vary from obstetrics to history of art, but more than half of them were meant for the teaching of botany. 

For the digital collection Het Geheugen van Nederland (Memory of the Netherlands) about 2,300 hand printed and hand made botanic charts were selected, entitled: The Art of  Knowledge; educational botanical wall charts 1870-1960. 

Wageningen UR Library possesses about 500 academic wall charts. 200 of them have been preserved and digitalised, 115 of which have been placed on the site ofThe Art of Knowledge. The Wageningen Collection can be found as follows:

One of the finest items from The Art of Knowledge from the collection of Wageningen UR Library, comes from the “Atlas der Krankheiten der landwirtschaftlichen Kulturpflanzen”: Phytophthora infestans drawing by A. Dressel.  All the digitised “Wageningse” charts, among which also the zoological wall charts, can be found and viewed on the library page Historic Literature on Biology online.

(Newsletter 1-2006)