The University Museum describes itself as a “Museum of Man, Nature and Science.” When you go upstairs and into the old building you get to the Geology Hall, which has intentionally been preserved as a traditional museum with old-fashioned wooden display cases to emphasize the four-hundred-year history of the university.
This hall reminds me of the archaeological museum in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France, where one room, the Salle Piette, has been preserved exactly as it was originally arranged in 1904, because the donor of all the items on display insisted that it never be changed.
The older part of the University Museum in Groningen also includes the consulting room of Dr. Aletta Jacobs (1854-1929), who was the first female student in the Netherlands, the first female physician and the first woman to obtain a doctorate. The room includes her desk and other personal objects, as well as information on her campaigns to improve the conditions of working-class women, her birth control clinic, her involvement in the international Women’s Peace Party and her campaigns to give women the right to vote.
The entrance to the University Museum is somewhat inconspicuous, in a narrow passageway between two buildings. In the courtyard of one of the traditional university buildings that have built a modern addition which serves as the entrance hall and is also used for temporary exhibitions. When I was there, they were showing an exhibit on modern aboriginal art of Australia.
My photos in this post are from 2012. I revised the text in 2019.