Six science museums

  • 18 August 2015

‘The greatest scientists are artists as well,’ said Albert Einstein. So let your creative spirit free at some of the UK’s most inspiring science museums.

1. Science Museum, London

50% off exhibitions with National Art Pass

With more than 800 interactive exhibits at this landmark museum in London, from astrology and cosmology to weights and measures, there is plenty to inspire you. The Science Museum Arts Project commissions artists to bring fresh perspective to many of its galleries. The Who am I? gallery on the first floor of the Wellcome Wing explores the controversial area of biomedical research and has works by artists Gina Czarnecki, Marlene Dumas and David Shrigley on display to help explore the topic. Don't miss Thomas Heatherwick's extraordinary and enormous sculpture, Materials House which can be seen in the Challenge of Materials gallery.

2. Woolsthorpe Manor, Lincolnshire

Free with National Art Pass

Isaac Newton was born at the manor house in 1642. During the plague years, when Cambridge University was closed, he made some of his historic breakthroughs here. The manor is furnished as a typical 17th-century farmhouse, and you can still find the legendary apple tree that is said to have inspired Newton’s theory of gravitation. Make sure you visit the interactive Science Discovery Centre to reconstruct some of the physicist’s celebrated experiments.

3. King’s Museum, Aberdeenshire

Free to all

Old ideas meet new at the King’s Museum. With its origins in a museum collection that was established in 1727, it is possibly the oldest museum in Scotland. Now with more than 300,000 items that cover medicine, human culture and natural history, it hosts a programme of temporary exhibitions to showcase its collection. For some shows, the museum collaborates with Aberdeen University students and staff to present current research and ideas to new audiences.

4. MOSI (Museum of Science & Industry), Manchester

Free to all

Based in the world’s oldest surviving railway station, this museum is devoted to developments in science, technology and industry, with an emphasis on Manchester’s achievements in these fields. It is an Anchor Point on the European Route of Industrial Heritage, a path of the most important industrial heritage sites in Europe. Here you’ll find extensive displays relating to transport, energy supplies, textiles, communications and computing.

5. Enginuity, Shropshire 

Free with National Art Pass

One of the 10 museums in Ironbridge Gorge, Enginuity is packed full of hands-on interactive science-and-technology-themed fun. Discover how a little creativity can help you pull a 10-ton locomotive by hand or generate electricity from flowing water. You can also test the speed of your reactions by challenging Enginuity’s robotic arm, build an earthquake-proof tower and look at everyday objects in a new light with a giant X-ray machine.

6. Whipple Museum of the History of Science, Cambridgeshire

Free to all

For those who are curious about which scientific instruments were once used in the pioneering colleges of Cambridge University, the Whipple Museum provides intoxicating insight. Instruments date as far back as the medieval period, with a particular focus on those from the 17th to 19th centuries. A selection of navigation, surveying and mathematical tools, as well as early electrical apparatus and sundials, is on display.

Tags: What to seeGreat days out