Bigelow & Howes: Guide for the Curious

The objects on display in this cabinet of curiosities represent only a small fraction of the life’s work of Edward F. Bigelow and Paul G. Howes, the Bruce Museum’s founding curators.

Below is a sampling of these objects with details about their creation, use, and acquisition for the Museum’s collection. Culled from a variety of sources ranging from family donations and curatorial and institutional files to purchases from eBay and antiquarian booksellers, these materials speak to the lives and careers of both men. Howes in particular left behind a wealth of material after his death, much of it scattered between family and friends. Bigelow archival material, however, remains sparse but is slowly growing due to new research and collecting initiatives. The Bruce is proud to be a major repository of work by Bigelow and Howes. These objects represent the origins and ongoing development of the collection, but also the history of the Bruce Museum.


10 x 10 ½ x 12 in.

Bruce Museum, Gift of Gerald J. Porricelli, 79.26.02

Edward F. Bigelow’s Balopticon Magic Lantern Projection Microscope

Bausch & Lomb, circa 1896

11 ½ x 32 x 7 in.

Bruce Museum, 00513

Edward F. Bigelow’s Compound Microscope

Bausch & Lomb Optical Company, circa 1896

12 x 4 ¼ x 6 in.

Bruce Museum, Gift of Sherman Dean Bigelow, 70.05.01


Edward F. Bigelow (American, 1860–1938)

Memories, September 1916

11 ¾ x 9 ¾ x 2 in.

Bruce Museum Archive, Gift of Jonathan and Robert Bigelow

Paul G. Howes (American, 1892–1984), American moose miniature diorama


Oil on linoleum, wood, plaster, natural objects, Louis Paul Jonas Studios models, 30 ¼ x 22 ½ x 15 in.

Bruce Museum, 16556

Paul G. Howes (American, 1892–1984)

Desert Studies Arizona


Oil on board, 16 ¾ x 20 ¾ in.

Bruce Museum Archive

Paul G. Howes (American, 1892–1984) Mushrooms

Mushroom (unknown species) Model

6 x 6 x 7 in.

Bruce Museum Archive

Paul G. Howes (American, 1892–1984), Trigonopsis howesi (abdominalis), c. 1916

Ink and watercolor on paper, and unknown photographic medium, 11 x 9 in.

Bruce Museum Archive, 87.22

Paul G. Howes’s Binocular Dissecting Scope

Spencer Lens Company

13 x 7 x 7 in.

Bruce Museum Archive

Paul G. Howes’s Certificate to Collect Wild Birds

Their Nests, and Eggs for Scientific Purposes

7 1/2 x 8 1/2 in.

Bruce Museum, FIC97.125.40

Paul G. Howes’s H16 Reflex Film Camera

Ballard Bolex

8 1/2 x 10 x 5 1/4 in.

Bruce Museum Archive

Paul G. Howes’s Microscope

Spencer Lens Company, circa 1915

12 x 4 ¼ x 6 in.

Bruce Museum Archive

Paul G. Howes’s Paint Case

4 x 17 ½ x 13 ½ in.

Bruce Museum Archive

Paul G. Howes’s Photo Autobiography of P.G.H.

Cardboard, paper, photographs, and aluminum, 28 x 27 x 2 ¼ in.

Bruce Museum Archive

Portrait of Edward F. Bigelow

Harris and Ewing

Photograph, 23 x 18 ¾ in.

Bruce Museum Archive, Gift of Nellie P. Bigelow

Portrait of Paul G. Howes

Margery Stocking Hart (American, 1888–1993)

Untitled (Portrait of Paul G. Howes), 1981

Oil on canvas, 21 x 17 in.

Bruce Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Charles L. Howes, Jr., 99.04.04

Share with a friend