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Where else can you find life-changing objects from Stephenson’s Rocket to the Apollo 10 command module, take in a science show, catch an immersive 3D movie, enjoy the thrills of a special effects simulator, introduce children to science with fun, hands-on interactives and encounter the past, present and future of technology in seven floors of galleries? At the Science Museum you can find all this and more!
Museum, Science centre
Closed 24-26 December
Admission to the Museum is free but charges apply to the IMAX 3D Cinema, simulators and some special exhibitions and events.
The Science Museum has over 300,000 objects in its care, with particular strengths in the history of western science, technology and medicine since 1700.
It has been uniquely placed to acquire objects recording the Industrial Revolution, and now holds unrivalled collections in this area. Medical artifacts from all periods and cultures also form an important part of its holdings.
World Cultures, Toys and Hobbies, Social History, Science and Technology, Natural Sciences, Medicine, Maritime, Land Transport, Inland Waterways, Industry, Fine Art, Film and Media, Design, Costume and Textiles, Coins and Medals, Aviation, Archives, Agriculture
Key artists and exhibits
- Who Am I
- Apollo 10
- Difference engine
- Fly Zone
From the flight dreams of the Renaissance through to the jump-jet and the wide-body aeroplanes of today, you’ll find them all in the Flight gallery.
Aircraft on show include many from the pioneer days of aviation, such as the most authentic Antoinette monoplane (1909) to be seen anywhere in the world.
Other exhibits include the Supermarine S6B racing seaplane, the Hawker P1127 – which led to the Harrier jump-jet fighter – and a complete slice of a genuine Boeing 747 jumbo jet!
Alongside the full-size aircraft you’ll find more than 100 aircraft models and a host of commemorative exhibits associated with pioneer balloon flight. The gallery is also home to a unique collection of more than 80 significant aero engines, ranging from one which powered the first British airship in 1907 through to a Rolls-Royce RB 211 – the parent of the huge fan-jets that power today’s airliners.
Making the Modern World
You’ll find such iconic items as Stephenson's original Rocket locomotive, Babbage's Difference Engine No. 1 and Crick and Watson's DNA model. These objects and many others are laid out in a chronological sequence that, in effect, comprises a cultural history of industrialisation from 1750 to the present day.
Alongside this central progression you’ll also find a series of historical studies which act as a comment on each age.
Another sequence of showcases looks at technology in everyday life, from 1750 to the present day. These displays use a large selection of objects drawn from right across the Museum's collections.
A fourth strand of the gallery, along a raised walkway, offers a rich display of models running in step with the main display. Made for a variety of uses, these are, in themselves, historic artefacts of the finest quality.
Now you can learn more about some of the iconic objects in the Making of the Modern World gallery with our new augmented reality app. Renowned TV presenter and science enthusiast James May tells brings to life the fascinating stories behind the Puffing Billy, Model T Ford, Rolls Royce Merlin engine and others. Find out more or purchase the app from the App Store or from Google Play.
- Family friendly
Who Am I
Who am I? invites you to explore the science of who you are through intriguing objects, provocative artworks and hands-on exhibits.
Discover what your voice sounds like as a member of the opposite sex, morph your face to see what you’ll look like as you age, or collect DNA to catch a criminal in our brand-new interactive exhibits.
Investigate some of the characteristics that make humans such a successful species, such as personality, intelligence and language.
Reflect on the big questions that new techniques in science are raising, and explore how your genetics and brain combine to create your unique identity.
Visit now to discover yourself!
- Family friendly
Wellcome Wing, First Floor
Join online visitors to create music together, watch your portrait being drawn by a robot and discover much more at this first-of-its-kind web-based exhibition.
Suggested length of activity 45 minutes.
- Family friendly
Alan Turing: Life and Legacy
To coincide with the 100th anniversary of the birth of Alan Turing (1912–1954) a new exhibition celebrating the life of pioneering computer scientist Alan Turing will will examine the achievements of the man whose influence on computer science is still felt today, and whose wartime codebreaking helped take years off the length of World War II.
The Science Museum will present the most extensive collection of Turing artifacts assembled under one roof, including machines he devised and devices that influenced him and his colleagues. Together, the collection will offer an indisputable argument for Turing’s enduring global legacy.
Science Museum exhibition curator, David Rooney, said “The exhibition is an opportunity to present the remarkable work of a man whose influence reaches into perhaps the most widespread and increasingly popular public pastime of the 21st century, the use of the personal computing device, yet whose name is probably unfamiliar to the vast majority of people."
- Family friendly
Free of charge.
Climate Changing Stories
From the climate of 19th century London to science fiction inspired visions of the future, to wind turbines and the almost obsolete incandescent light bulb, the exhibition will take visitors on a fascinating journey through some of the Museum's best-loved galleries to discover objects and stories that reflect the human capacity to adapt to the challenges of our climate changing world.
Among the highlights of the display is the Bersey Cab - the first self-propelled vehicle for hire that appeared on the streets of London in 1897. Now, electric transport is firmly back on the agenda with charging points in London set to double in the next six months and a futuristic ‘driverless electric taxi’ in the offing. Could the car of our great-great-great-grandparents present a solution for greener cities today?
- Any age
Oramics to Electronica: Revealing Histories of Electronic Music
Discover the history of electronic music from the 1950s until today. This exhbition has been co-produced with a group of musicians and with the help of people who made electronic music in the 1960s. Back then, electronic music was still an avant-garde experiment. How did it become part of the musical mainstream?
The exhibition celebrates the boundless creativity and ‘make do and mend’ mentality of musicians and engineers. It shows iconic instruments alongside home-built synthesisers and one-off inventions. New instruments such as synthesisers and samplers not only changed the sounds musicians could make, but also influenced the way they composed and performed their music.
The exhibition highlights the work of three British studios that produced electronic music in the 1960s and 1970s. Electronic Music Studios (EMS) experimented with computer music while developing some of the earliest commercial synthesisers to pay the bills. The BBC Radiophonic Workshop introduced electronic sounds to the masses through the theme tunes and sound effects its members made for radio and television. In the meantime, in her private studio in Kent, Daphne Oram developed a technique that allowed her to draw sounds. She called it Oramics, and the unique instrument she developed over the years, the Oramics Machine, is also on display.
Only in England: Photographs by Tony Ray-Jones and Martin Parr
See the first ever major London exhibition by work of British photographer Tony Ray-Jones, opening in Media Space, September 2013. Featuring over 100 works drawn from the Tony Ray-Jones archive at the National Media Museum, the exhibition will also include 50 rarely seen early black and white photographs by Martin Parr.
The exhibition will explore the relationship between these two important photographers and their fascination with the English.
Between 1966 and 1969 Tony Ray-Jones documented English customs and identity in a remarkable series of photographs. Humorous yet melancholy, these works attracted the attention of the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), London where they were exhibited in 1969. Tragically, in 1972 Ray-Jones died from Leukaemia aged just 30. However, his short but prolific career had a last influence on the development of British photography.
In 1970, Martin Parr, had been introduced to Ray-Jones and was inspired by his work to produce The Non-Conformists. These photographs were shot in black and white in Hebden Bridge and the surrounding Calder Valley. This project explicitly demonstrates the legacy and influence of Tony Ray-Jones.
Media Space is a collaboration between the Science Museum and the National Media Museum. Media Space will showcase the National Photography Collection of the National Media Museum through a series of exhibitions. Alongside this, photographers, artists and the creative industries will respond t the wider collections of the Science Museum Group to explore visual media, technology and science.
Principal founding sponsor
Adults: £8, Conc: £5,
Large Hadron Collider
The exhibition will explore one of the greatest scientific and engineering endeavours of our time at CERN in Geneva.
In the Large Hadron Collider (a giant particle collider) scientists and engineers work at the extremes of temperature, vacuum and energy to recreate conditions not seen since just after the Big Bang some 13.7 billion years ago.
The museum will be collaborating with designers and theatrical experts to create an experience which immerses visitors in the greatest intellectual adventure on the planet. Details of the exhibition were announced in May 2012 by Prof Rolf-Dieter Heuer, Director General of CERN, at the Science Museum’s annual dinner, an event attended by leaders of science, industry, politics and the media. Guests included Prof Stephen Hawking, David Willetts and Janet Street-Porter.
- Any age
Pain Less: the future of relief
Last year, nearly 6 billion painkillers were sold in the UK. Pain is a constant reality for some people, especially if you're one of the 1 in 5 who suffer from relentless chronic pain.
We treat pain with drugs that haven’t really changed for decades. Is there a better way to control pain?
Explore pain through the stories of extraordinary people who deal with it every day – from the patient who suffers with chronic pain in his missing limb, to the man who feels no pain at all.
- Any age
Hidden Structures – 100 Years of X-ray Crystallography
This display celebrates the centenary of X-ray crystallography, a technique developed by father-and-son team William H. Bragg and W. Lawrence Bragg in 1913.
X-ray crystallography was central to molecular biology, the science of proteins, viruses and other bio-molecules that developed in the years after World War II. Hidden Structures explores the stories behind some of the most striking molecular models from this golden age of X-ray crystallography, including DNA, insulin and haemoglobin.
Opening in time for International Women's Day, Hidden Structures also discusses the complex role of women in molecular biology and displays key models by Kathleen Lonsdale and Dorothy Hodgkin.
Shackleton’s Man Goes South
Shackleton’s Man Goes South is the title of a new novel by author Tony White, premiering exclusively at the Science Museum, that explores how climate change could affect the world we live in. It is also the title of a display in the Atmosphere gallery that charts the literary and scientific inspiration behind the writing of the book, Shackleton’s Man Goes South, which is premiering exclusively at the Science Museum.
White was inspired by the chance discovery of a little-known science fiction story about ‘climate change’ published in the ‘South Polar Times’, the shipboard newspaper on Robert Falcon Scott’s ill-fated 1911 Antarctic expedition. The author, polar explorer and meteorologist George Clarke Simpson, went on to become a leading atmospheric scientist and director of the Met Office. In this display White shows how tales from the heroic age of exploration inspired a thought-provoking work of fiction that explores the political, social and cultural impacts of climate change now.
Visitors to the Atmosphere gallery will be able to download Shackleton’s Man Goes South as a free e-book as part of this innovative arts project and digital publishing initiative. The e-book will be available from 24 April 2013.
Cosmos & Culture
Explore how astronomy has changed the way we see our universe - and ourselves - through this object-rich exhibition. From ancient heritage to cutting edge technology, trace the history of people and the stars through different stories drawn from around the world.
Cosmos & Culture uses a new multimedia display environment that allows you to explore objects in depth and find out about key scientific concepts. See how different instruments work, discover the stories of the people who made and used them, and enjoy beautiful models, illustrations and photographs.
Exhibition supported by the Patrons of the Science Museum with additional support from the Science and Technology Facilities Council, STFC.
Building Bonanza Low Energy House Game
Try to build a "house of the future" by selecting the most environmentally friendly, low-energy materials and features in this online interactive game.
Challenge of Materials
An online exhibition about materials, with interactive elements exploring types of materials, selecting materials, making materials, and 'world-changing' materials.
- Science Museum
- Science Museum
Energy - fuelling the future
A website designed to help KS2 and KS3 children find out about how we use energy, and make the most of a visit to the Energy Fuelling the Future gallery at the Science Museum. Here you will find fascinating facts, quizzes, and a wealth of practical activities developed with teachers who have tested them with their own children in schools. Many of the activities can be adapted for different audiences.
- Science Museum
Energy Info Zone
Making the Modern World: Bridges
This mathematics study module, available online, looks at how differently shaped bridges, built at different periods of time, handle loads and stress.
Making the Modern World: Urban Sustainability - Cities and the Role of Technology
This geography study module, available online, looks at urban development. Case studies are taken from cities around the world, and demonstrate cities as different kinds of systems, sustainability, and how technological developments affect urban life.
The Hunt for Higgs
Kids' Science Book Club
The Kids Science Book Club is a fun and interactive book club to encourage children to read and learn whilst enjoying a literary extravaganza. It’s a great way to learn more about science in a fun way. On Saturdays, monthly at 11.00.
How to obtain
Booking is essential - email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 7942 4333.