The Science Museum

Exhibition Road
London SW7 2DD
+44 (0) 870 870 4868

With over 300,000 objects in its care, The Science Museum narrates the extensive history of the Western world through science, technology and medicine. You can see, touch and experience the major scientific advances of the last 300 years. There are over 6 hands-on galleries catering for children from 8 months and upwards, an IMAX cinema, Virtual Voyages motion-ride simulator and a whole host of daytime events. 46 galleries are spread over seven floors including over 2000 hands-on exhibits to captivate and inspire all.

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5.0 out of 5.0

Based on 11 reviews

  • Neighbourhood: South Kensington
  • Type: Museums
  • Keywords: guided tours, gift shop, event, museum, exhibitions, summer, family
  • Nearest Transport: South Kensington (0.23 mi), Gloucester Road (0.31 mi), High Street Kensington (0.59 mi)
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August 03, 2012

South Kensington is just such a great place to take the children. The Science Museum is just brilliant,with lots of interactive activities. Round the corner the beautiful V&A museum and the Natural History Museum - are simply awesome. The staff at all these venues are very helpful and knowledgeable.

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January 06, 2012

Great place offering a wide range of interesting exhibitions. Recommend you visiting!

Keywords: museums

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June 27, 2011

This summer, make space at the Science Museum your holiday destination of choice. From 23 July – 31 August, pick up a passport as you enter the museum and follow the new space trail – embarking on a voyage of discovery through six of the museum’s galleries, where you can pick up some amazing facts about space and collect codes in order to grab a special souvenir at the end.

The space trail will pass through the Exploring Space gallery, allowing people to marvel at rockets and satellites as well as the full-sized replica of the Apollo 11 Lunar Lander that took astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to the Moon in 1969.

Later in the journey, visitors will be able to see at close range the original Apollo 10 Command Module – the capsule that made the dress rehearsal to the Moon before the Moon landings. The trail will later pass through the In Future gallery, where you can play a game about space tourism and decide if you would actually like to spend a holiday in outer space in the future! After taking a look into the future, you can take a look at how we’ve explored the universe so far in Cosmos & Culture – a gallery all about the history of astronomy.

The trail will pass through the Science Museum’s popular Launchpad gallery, where visitors can have fun discovering the laws of gravity in motion and making sense of the way things work with our hands-on exhibits.

Another destination on the journey is the Science Museum’s IMAX cinema – where you can immerse yourself in the incredible mission to service the Hubble space telescope in the film Hubble 3D, or witness the building of the International Space Station in another film – Space Station 3D. For more entertainment, enjoy Legend of Apollo 3D at our Force Field 4D effects theatre - feel the impact of a Saturn V launch, take a ride in a lunar rover over the Moon’s surface and discover the smell of space.

Find out all the things you never knew about what astronauts do and meet our Yuri Gagarin drama character – who will give his entertaining account of what it was like to be the first man in space exactly 50 years ago.

Discover more and plan your trip to space at www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/space

Visitor Information
FREE
Science Museum, Exhibition Road, London, SW7 2DD
Open daily 10.00 to 18.00, except 24-26 December
www.sciencemuseum.org.uk / 0870 870 4868

Keywords: space, summer, family, event

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May 13, 2011

Let your imagination soar to new heights by helping build a giant invention inspired LEGO display - we’re offering visitors the chance to build a variety of inventions out of LEGO bricks. Join us to assemble any invention you like, from computers to cars and space rockets to hot air-balloons. Get building tips and tricks from the LEGO Store in Westfield team, who will integrate your creation into a giant invention-themed scene. This event is free and there's no need to book - just drop in for as long as you like. Plus, budding builders will receive special offers at the official LEGO Stores and the chance to win great surprises!
LEGO and the LEGO logo are trademarks of the LEGO Group. © 2010 The LEGO Group.

Keywords: LEGO, Science Museum, May half-term

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May 12, 2011

British artist, Conrad Shawcross will complete his residency at the Science Museum with Protomodel, a series of five small-scale artworks dispersed throughout the Mathematics gallery, opening Thursday 12 May, 2011

Protomodel opens up a playful, questioning dialogue exploring how model-making, natural processes, cultural practices and historical circumstances all play their part in mathematical thinking.

Paying homage to the influence the Mathematics gallery has had on his practice, Shawcross has created 5 artworks* that will be displayed alongside the gallery’s distinctively stylised displays of mathematical instruments, machines and models. Shawcross’s works respond to the tactile, material imperfections of experimental mathematical models that seek to demonstrate concepts that cannot be seen or touched and attempt to represent the invisible. From a tangled, coiling length of swarf that describes the perplexing relation between the centre and periphery of a spinning drill, to a set of 'Celestial Metres' that might act as standard measures for the inhabitants of other planets, Shawcross's works express a creative curiosity about the way in which mathematics is expressed in the real world.

Conrad Shawcross said: ”Throughout my life the Science Museum has always been a great source of inspiration to me. To have had the opportunity to delve into the collection and be given access to the incredible resources of the Museum, not least the minds of some of the brilliant curators, will feed my work for years to come.”

Ruth Fenton, Assistant Curator of Science Museum Art Projects said: "The intelligence, wit and enquiry that Protomodel brings to the Mathematics gallery offers a fascinating and thought-provoking response to mathematical certainty and the beauty revealed through experimental model-making.”

As part of his residency Shawcross has also developed a curatorial exhibition concept, which extends his personal investigations into the construction of certainty and beliefs in science. Shawcross will select objects from the collection to be shown alongside his own and other contemporary artists work and will be developed for the Science Museum Arts Projects future programme.

*Artwork Titles
Hyperbolic Swarf Drawings
Perimeter Studies
Chord Harmonic Trees
The Celestial Metres
Time Rule (352 Minutes)

Keywords: Science Museum, Conrad Shawcross, Protomodel, Mathematics gallery

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April 01, 2011

A new series of exhibit interventions, Ten Climate Stories, opens at the Science Museum on Friday 8 April, reveals hidden stories behind some of the museum's best-loved exhibits – as well as showcasing artworks from established and emerging artists, offering new perspectives on the famous displays.

Ten Climate Stories is part of the Museum's three-year Climate Changing programme – a series of thought-provoking events that accompanies the *atmosphere exploring climate science gallery.

David Rooney, Science Museum curator said: “Ten Climate Stories takes a long view of our climate changing world, offering a fresh take on historic inventions and everyday objects – and their impact on the world around us.”

Newly on show is the Sno-Cat used by Sir Vivian Fuchs in the 1955–8 crossing of Antarctica with Sir Edmund Hillary. This bright-orange tracked vehicle was one of four that completed the perilous journey, along a route littered with icy ridges and treacherous crevasses.

In The Toaster Project, emerging designer and Royal College of Art graduate Thomas Thwaites pulled apart the cheapest toaster he could find – and then built his own, by mining and processing all the raw materials himself and manufacturing every component. The magnificently imperfect result offers a playful yet powerful comment on consumer culture.

Longplayer, by Jem Finer, is a thousand year long piece of music that began playing on 31 December 1999. A new listening post playing this critically acclaimed work will be installed in the Museum's flagship gallery, Making the Modern World. Nearby, Yao Lu's arresting images from the New Landscapes series depict a rapidly changing world – where all is not what it seems.

Other exhibits in 10 Climate Stories include a blazing inferno in 18th-century Shropshire, the march of steel pylons across Britain's countryside, the first photograph of Earth from space, the roots of car culture in First World War America, a million-volt machine used to build an atom bomb, and a spaceship journey that changed our entire view of our world.

*The atmosphere gallery and the Climate Changing programme have been made possible by support from Principal Sponsors Shell and Siemens, Major Sponsor Bank of America Merrill Lynch, major funder the Garfield Weston Foundation, and with additional support from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Patrons of the Science Museum and members of the Founders Circle: Climate Changing programme: Accenture, Bayer and Barclays

Keywords: science museum, exhibitions, ten climate stories

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March 31, 2011

The celebrated time-eating Chronophage clock, designed by Dr John Taylor OBE, will go on display at the Science Museum from Monday 18 April. The time-eating clock – a story of invention, will be displayed alongside an original Harrison clock in an installation designed to give insight into the mind of one of today’s most creative and successful inventors.

Like its sister clock, permanently installed outside Corpus Christi College Library, Cambridge University, this giant kinetic piece is destined to be a show-stopper. The patented timepiece is a genuinely new way of presenting time.

The Chronophage shows time in a way that causes its viewers to reflect on the very nature of time measurement. Some minutes race by, others drag, some disappear and others appear to stand still. Every five minutes the clock “corrects” itself and accurate time (whatever that means) is shown through light slits, as the Chronophage is a clock without hands or numbers.

Dr Taylor said: “The perceived duration of each minute varies from person to person and depends on circumstances. As you get older, you become more aware that time isn’t on your side and every minute that passes is gone forever. The Chronophage shows this quite graphically as it relentlessly devours each and every minute.”

Walking atop the 1.5 metre golden face is a large kinetic sculpture of a mythical creature. The creature, an integral part of the mechanics of the clock, appears to devour time -the name Chronophage literally means Time-Eater from the Greek: Chronos (Time) and Phago (I eat). The hour is tolled by the sound of a chain clanking into a small wooden coffin concealed in the back of the clock to remind us that our time on earth is limited.

The Chronophage stands 3.3 metres high and is made of gold-plate, stainless steel, and electro-mechanical components. It represents a fusion of art and technology. It has taken more than two years to make and over a hundred people including artists, engineers, scientists, jewellers and calligraphers have been involved in the process. The face is 1.5 metres in diameter and was created by a series of underwater explosions.

Dr Taylor, 74, is an inventor and horologist - someone who studies the measurement of time. He was awarded an OBE for his services to horology in the 2010 New Year’s Honours List, and is the recipient of four Queen’s Awards for Innovation. He holds close to 200 UK patents, mostly to do with domestic electrical appliances. Among his list of inventions is the kettle thermostat (that automatically switches off a kettle at the right temperature). The contribution to energy saving for this single invention alone is tremendous in itself. He also invented the cordless electric kettle. If it wasn’t for Dr Taylor all our kettles would still be whistling!

Dr Susan Mossman, Science Museum curator said: “This is a marvellous opportunity to discover how a key modern inventor has been inspired by and learned from the past.”

The inventor has a life-long fascination with the world of time-keeping. He has one of the most important collections of clocks in private hands and has curated major exhibitions on 17th and 18th century horology. Dr Taylor designed the Chronophage as a tribute to English clockmaker John Harrison. Harrison solved the problem of measuring longitude at sea in the 18th century and also invented the grasshopper escapement - a tiny internal device that releases a clock's gears at each swing of its pendulum. With the Chronophage Dr Taylor has created a clock, that is both traditional (driven by a spring and paced by a rocking escapement) and entirely new.

Keywords: Science Museum, exhibit, time-eating clock, Dr John Taylor OBE

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March 15, 2011

Bubbles, explosions, rockets and fond childhood memories will feature prominently at the Science Museum’s next Lates on Wednesday 30 March - in an evening dedicated to the museum’s flagship interactive Launchpad gallery.

To celebrate the Launchpad March Lates event, the Science Museum will also be running an online competition called #smlates. This is a fun twitter-powered competition where the top 10 point scorers before the 30th March will be entered into a draw to win an iPad 2, with a selection of science based prizes up for grabs for the runners up as well. To find out more about the competition and to enter please visit: http://lates.sciencemuseum.org.uk/

The March Lates Event
Visitors will have a chance to enjoy the child like wonder in Launchpad for a whole evening without any children being present. Guests will rediscover their inner child by building contraptions especially designed to compliment the gallery – including machines that catapult loveable childrens toys and glamour bug robots. People will be encouraged to volunteer and enjoy the fantastic Launchpad shows at various locations throughout the museum – on subjects ranging from bubbles to explosions.

Lates will also welcome psychologist Professor Richard Wiseman, who, in the spirit of Launchpad’s interactive curiosity, will be investigating the paranormal. Prof. Wiseman’s previous experiments include immersing himself in the world of séances; testing telepaths, spending nights in haunted castles, and attempting to talk with the dead.

Visitors will also be able to explore a new exhibition, James Watt and our world – which celebrates the life and work of the great engineer, inventor driven by curiosity and hero of the Industrial Revolution, James Watt. For the first time, visitors will be able to see Watt’s completely re-assembled attic workshop and learn more about the story of the man famous for ‘turning science into money’. Curators will be on hand throughout the evening to give talks and tours around the exhibition.

In addition, brewery Shepherd Neame (one of Watt’s early customers) will be creating a special limited edition ‘James Watt’s Late’ ale which visitors will be able to sample whilst marvelling at his work.

The evening will also feature a performance by the National Youth Theatre as well as the welcoming back the flagship Lates regular events such as the Silent Disco, a Launchpad themed Pub Quiz, Deaf led Tours of the museum and the new A Cockroach Tour of The Science Museum.

Visitors can also enjoy the regular selection of Lates activities including:

• Silent Disco: Pick up a pair of headphones, tune in and get down to your own sounds under the canopy of rockets in the Exploring Space gallery.
• The Lates Pub Quiz: Get competitive in our Lates ‘pub quiz’.

Keywords: Science, Museum, Lates, Launchpad

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October 19, 2010

James Watt’s legendary ‘magical retreat’ to be revealed at Science Museum

Complete workshop of the first hero of the Industrial Revolution to be reassembled and opened to visitors

The attic workshop of the first hero of the British Industrial Revolution, the engineer James Watt, will be opened up to visitors as part of a new permanent Science Museum exhibition, James Watt and our world: opening on 23 March 2011. Accompanied by a new gallery of previously unseen objects and innovative multimedia, the exhibition will present a vivid portrait of the working life, ingenuity and character of the first mechanical engineer to be propelled to international fame and spoken of in the same breath as national heroes like Isaac Newton and William Shakespeare.

When Watt died in 1819, his workshop at his home near Birmingham, was locked and its contents left undisturbed as an ‘industrial shrine’. Then, in 1924, the complete workshop, including its door, window, skylight, floorboards and 6,500 objects used or created by Watt, were carefully removed and transported to the Science Museum. Although the workshop has previously been displayed at the Museum, visitors have never been invited inside until now. The vast majority of its contents, once hidden within drawers, on shelves and under piles of tools and papers are now revealed. The new display sets Watt’s life and work alongside his iconic early steam engines which line the Museum’s Energy Hall.

James Watt was seen by contemporaries as the founder of the Industrial Revolution. His improved engine meant that steam could be used everywhere, not just in coal mines, boosting output in breweries, potteries and textile mills. It drove Britain’s factories, pumped its mines and helped start a long surge in prosperity.

Watt was the first engineer to be honoured by a statue in Westminster Abbey and was even called ’the greatest benefactor of the human race’. On his death, the workshop became a place of pilgrimage for historians. His biographer J.P. Muirhead, wrote, the ‘garret and all its mysterious contents…seemed still to breathe of the spirit that once gave them life and energy’.

This exhibition puts Watt in the context of Britain’s emergence as the first industrial nation. Watt played a pivotal role in these events which opened the road to the consumer society of today... He was perhaps the first ‘scientific entrepreneur’, adept at ‘turning science into money’ and using his skills to generate wealth in a longstanding partnership with entrepreneur Matthew Boulton.

Watt’s workshop is packed with a bewildering array of objects including the world’s oldest circular saw, parts for flutes and violins he was making and even the oldest surviving pieces of sandpaper. The exhibition will also include a roller press developed by Watt to copy letters, a forerunner of the photocopier, and a device used to mint and standardise the size of coins for the first time, developed for the Royal Mint.

One of the key objects of the exhibition is Watt’s original 1765 model for the first separate condenser - in effect the greatest single improvement to the steam engine ever made. This unassuming brass cylinder, thought to be one of the most significant objects in engineering history, was only discovered at the Science Museum in the 1960’s – lying under Watt’s workbench. The object remained unrecognised until research by the Museum revealed its identity.

Ben Russell, Curator of Mechanical Engineering, at the Science Museum, said “I am delighted to see Watt’s Workshop given a prominent place again at the Science Museum. To Victorians, the workshop was a mystical retreat and we are hoping that visitors will be similarly enthralled and inspired today. It’s fascinating that we still don’t know the exact purpose of every item in the workshop and we will continue to research this. It was both a functioning workshop and a personal museum of things from his entire life which he had kept, perhaps out of sentiment, but also in case they might come in handy.”

Andrew Nahum, Principal Curator of Technology & Engineering at the Science Museum, said “The extraordinary thing about Watt’s story is that it represents the crucial moment at which industry took off and transformed our lives. In the 19th century, Watt’s improvements to the steam engine and the industry it drove was claimed as a powerful contribution to British strength and to Wellington’s defeat of Napoleon. Watt became a new kind of ‘industrial hero’. Today, Britain’s commerce no longer runs on steam and Watt is perhaps less well known so we are pleased to be celebrating his engineering genius once more.”

As a mark of their contribution, James Watt and his business partner Matthew Boulton will be portrayed on the Bank of England’s forthcoming new £50 banknotes. In 1797 Boulton manufactured all Britain’s coins for the Bank with his new steam-powered machinery.

As Bank of England Governor, Mervyn King, commented when he announced their planned inclusion on the note, “So many of the advantages society now enjoys are due to the vital role of engineering and the brilliance of people such as Boulton and Watt, whose development and refinement of steam engines gave an incredible boost to the efficiency of industry.”

The exhibition is supported by The DCMS/Wolfson Museums & Galleries Improvement Fund, with additional support from The Pilgrim Trust and the Helen and Geoffrey de Freitas Charitable Trust.

Keywords: science musuem, free, lates

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September 22, 2010

Although I’ve visited the Museum many times, I only recently heard about their “Lates” events. Once a month, and open to adults only, Lates is a chance for people to roam the museum, take part in special interactive exhibitions based on that month’s theme… and the best part? No pesky kids running around!

The next event is Wednesday 29th Sept 2010, and it’s based on STIs! Could this be the recipe for the best first date?? I’m really looking forward to checking out some cringe-y sex-ed videos from the past 100 years, and making my own syphilitic body parts! I’ll definitely be stopping by, I’m sure I’ll pick up a few tips but hopefully nothing else!

Keywords: science museum, free, adults

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