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The Science Museum tells the history of Western science, technology and medicine from 1700 to the present day through its collection of more than 300,000 original objects.
The museum has its origins in the Great Exhibition of 1851, the proceeds of which went towards founding The South Kensington Museum, based at the site now occupied by the V&A. It quickly acquired a large science-based collection: large steam locomotives such as Stephenson's 'Rocket' of 1829 were displayed alongside contemporary scientific developments, and early additions included a collection of ship models and marine engines. In the 1860s the collection was moved to the current location on the other side of Exhibition Road.
The museum began to fulfil its modern role with a major international exhibition in 1876 – the 'Special Loan Collection of Scientific Instruments', much of which was retained. The Science Museum was officially separated from the Victoria and Albert Museum in 1885.
There are daily tours, live events, science shows and 800 interactive exhibits, as well as simulator rides and an IMAX 3D cinema.
The 'science' strand of the collection spans the fields of physics, chemistry and biology, focusing on astronomy, cosmology, weights and measures, earth sciences, natural history, natural philosophy and navigation. Its large medical collection is based on a permanent loan from the Wellcome Trust, and is one of the world's most comprehensive medical displays.
The Media Space gallery opened in September 2013, a collaborative project between the Science Museum and the National Media Museum. Its programme of changing exhibitions asks photographers, artists and professionals from the creative industries to explore the relationship between visual media, technology and science.
The Science Museum's biggest and most ambitious gallery is Information Age: Six Networks That Changed Our World – a display of 800 objects focused on the development of communication technology. The six networks are: the cable, the telephone exchange, broadcast, the constellation, the cell and the web. The gallery will explores their development through a series of important events, including the wireless transmission of the Titanic disaster in 1912, the first BBC broadcast in 1922 and the influence of mobile phones on our lives today.
Art Funded works
In 2008 the museum acquired the Art Funded Listening Post, an installation by Mark Hansen and Ben Rubin. Offering a 'portrait of online communication', it consists of more than 200 LED screens displaying text fragments from internet chat rooms, with a voice synthesizer speaking or singing the texts.
Whether you bring your own lunch or are looking to buy, the museum offers dining options for all needs with a picnic area, café and family restaurant on site.
If you would like to avoid the large numbers of school children that visit the gallery, the museum opens late on the last Wednesday of each month from 6.45pm until 10pm, hosting themed nights for adults only.