The University of Tokyo has eight museums covering various fields such as medicine, agriculture and art. Click the names of the museums below to read brief introductions about their histories and exhibits.
Having accumulated over three million academic materials for its collection since the University of Tokyo was founded in 1877, the University Museum is the largest museum of its kind in Japan. From the time of its reorganization into an independent entity in May 1996, the Museum has held planned exhibitions over 60 times. The Museum has also been developing an external “mobile museum” as part of its collaboration with industry since 2006, and continues to widely announce and publicize research outcomes both within and outside of the University.
The Koishikawa Annex of the University Museum is housed in the oldest building in the University of Tokyo system, the Main Building of the University’s predecessor, Tokyo Medical School. Located within the Koishikawa Botanical Garden, the Annex is open to the public and has a permanent exhibition available for viewing. Items on display include architectural models of famous structures from around the world and photographs that document the construction of various University buildings.
A public facility jointly operated by Japan Post Co. Ltd. and the University Museum, the University of Tokyo (UMUT), the Intermediatheque (IMT) opened in 2013 within the JP Tower in the Marunouchi district. The second and third floors of the former Tokyo Central Post Office, a five-storied historical building representative of Showa modernism architecture, were renovated as a museum space to give birth to the Intermediatheque. As indicated by its name, this is a facility dedicated to interdisciplinary experimentation venturing into cultural creation of a new kind based on the fusion of every means of expression. The platform of such an activity is the permanent exhibition of the scientific and cultural heritage accumulated by the University of Tokyo. The design policy conducting the revival of this historical heritage within the contemporary urban cityscape is one of the highlights of the exhibition. Special exhibitions and events will also present the fruits of contemporary scientific research and artistic expression in harmony with the permanent exhibition. The Intermediatheque’s activities also include an original comprehensive education program, as well as a boutique presenting original goods emanating from the museum’s activities.
The Komaba Museum features both an art museum and a natural science museum. The structure which now serves as the Museum was originally built to be a library for the College of Arts and Sciences’ predecessor, the former First Higher School. A full renovation was completed on this building in 2003. As a result, the two museums, which had heretofore operated separately and in different places over many years, came to be housed together under one roof.
The Art Museum’s Exhibition Room is on the first floor, while the one for the Natural Science Museum is located on the second floor. These museums constitute the two wings of the Komaba Museum. They collaborate with each other while utilizing their own unique characteristics, regularly holding joint exhibitions and other events. The collaborative activities the Komaba Museum carries out extend beyond the categories of liberal arts and science, making this museum a unique facility that is truly representative of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and the College of Arts and Sciences.
The Museum of Health and Medicine seeks to provide information about health and medicine to the general public and advance education for students studying medicine. The Museum features both a permanent exhibition space and a temporary exhibition space, with the latter focusing on topics related to medical care and the study of medicine. The exhibits are presented in a variety of ways, such as through videos, lectures and hands-on exhibits, in order to engage the public and promote understanding of the fields of health and medicine.
The Agricultural Museum displays materials from the collection of the University’s Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences. Notable items on display include the documents and portraits of scientists affiliated with the University, internal organs of Japan’s famous dog Hachiko, and drawings illustrating German agriculture and the varieties of Japanese cows.
The Farm Museum opened in 2007 within a renovated dairy barn. The barn was built in 1934 as part of the moving of the University of Tokyo’s farm from Komaba to Tanashi, an area in western Tokyo. The Museum features both permanent and temporary exhibitions. Permanent exhibitions include European farming implements used on the Komaba Farm, tools for agricultural experiments, agricultural machinery, American tractors and drawings illustrating German agriculture. Visitors can also watch operation demonstrations of the small rail cart in front of the Museum, which once carried feed, hay and other necessities back and forth within the farm.
The Medical Science Museum endeavors to preserve valuable medical materials of historical significance that relate to the Institute of Medical Science and display them for public viewing. The Museum also hopes to promote understanding of the past, present and future of the medical science field.
Surrounded by natural greenery, the brick structure modeled on a stable operated by the Institute of Infectious Diseases (predecessor to the Institute of Medical Science) represents the Institute’s past, while the glass building next to it inspires one to imagine what the future holds. The contrast between the two structures greets visitors with a sense of sophisticated tranquility. At the Tea Corner set up within the Museum, visitors can enjoy drinking tea while reflecting upon the past, present and future of medical science.
The Museum’s exhibits are divided between its two connected buildings:
The History of Medical Science
The brick building on the right side houses a variety of materials that display ways in which the Institute has fought against serious illnesses from its days as the Institute of Infectious Diseases to its current form as the Institute of Medical Science.
Endeavors in Medical Science
Within the glass building on the left side are digital videos available for viewing. Some videos display the basic research being conducted at the Institute in the fields of life science and medicine. Other videos introduce new efforts the Institute is undertaking in order to conquer serious illnesses through its promotion of advanced medical developments such as genomic medicine, cell therapy and gene therapy.