Friday, October 20, 2006

Science Museum London

Science Meseum, South Kensington, London

This photo of the Science Museum in London is part of one of the panoramic images found on the Tour of London. There are over 100 images taken from around London linked to an interactive map.

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From the outside the Science Museum in London does not look like very much. Certainly, compared to the Natural History Museum just around the corner, the Science Museum building seems quite plain. However, this belies the fantastic contents. Stepping through the doors you get the impression that you have entered some kind of Tardis, surely the inside is larger than the outside?

In fact, the inside of the Science Museum is vast. 6 floors crammed to the rafters with all sorts of activities and exhibits. Vast replicas of planes, rockets and engines. Functioning steam engines clunking away. Musical bridges and weird sculptures made of every day materials. Whether it is a history of glass, paper, plastics or pottery this has to be the place to come. Gallery after gallery unfolds as you explore the immense interior, with an Imax cinema at the back of the building. In fact there are over 40 galleries housing some 300,000 exhibits being put together since 1857. As the collection grew in size it was split between the Science Museum and the Victoria & Albert Museum just over the road. Famous exhibits include Stephenson's Rocket and Watson and Crick’s DNA molecule and even an Apollo 10 space rocket.

Down in the Launch Bay (adults to be accompanied by kids) is a great array of hands on puzzles and experiments. Fancy a 2m soap bubble – then this is the place to head for! For slightly younger children the Garden, also in the basement, provides another interactive play area. If that is not enough, then discover the secrets of patterns on the ground floor. Got to the end of the day and don’t want to go home? Why not arrange a sleepover in the Science Museum, an evening of fun and then the night in the museum itself.

My personal favorite exhibits have to include the musical bridge over the gallery on the ground floor and the space exhibits. I have yet to go to the Dana Centre and see what events and debates go on down there, or explore the whole of the Museum, but there is enough to keep coming back again and again, even without the special exhibitions.

The Science Museum is reputed to hold the largest and most significant collection about the development and use of science, technology, medicine and industry throughout history. With about 1.6 million visitors per year the Science Museum is one of the top ten tourist attractions in the UK. However, the collection is so vast that at any one time only about 15% of it is on display. It is located in Exhibition Road, South Kensington, the nearest tube is South Kensington.

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The image here shows part of the front of the Science Museum. The full panoramic image can be found on the London tour by An enlargement of this photo can be found on Flickr.

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