The Science Museum is a major museum on Exhibition Road in South Kensington, London. It was founded in 1857 and today is one of the city’s major tourist attractions, attracting 3.3 million visitors annually .
Like other publicly funded national museums in the United Kingdom, the Science Museum does not charge visitors for admission. Temporary exhibitions, however, may incur an admission fee.
A museum was founded in 1857 under Bennet Woodcroft from the collection of the Royal Society of Arts and surplus items from the Great Exhibition as part of the South Kensington Museum, together with what is now the Victoria and Albert Museum. It included a collection of machinery which became the Museum of Patents in 1858, and the Patent Office Museum in 1863. This collection contained many of the most famous exhibits of what is now the Science Museum.
In 1883, the contents of the Patent Office Museum were transferred to the South Kensington Museum. In 1885, the Science Collections were renamed the Science Museum and in 1893 a separate director was appointed.
The Science Museum’s present quarters, designed by Sir Richard Allison, were opened to the public in stages over the period 1919–28. This building was known as the East Block, construction of which began in 1913 and temporarily halted by World War I. As the name suggests it was intended to be the first building of a much larger project, which was never realized. However, the Museum buildings were expanded over the following years; a pioneering Children’s Gallery with interactive exhibits opened in 1931,[ the Centre Block was completed in 1961-3, the infill of the East Block and the construction of the Lower & Upper Wellcome Galleries in 1980, and the construction of the Wellcome Wing in 2000 result in the Museum now extending to Queen’s Gate.
The Science Museum now holds a collection of over 300,000 items, including such famous items as Stephenson’s Rocket, Puffing Billy (the oldest surviving steam locomotive), the first jet engine, a reconstruction of Francis Crick and James Watson’s model of DNA, some of the earliest remaining steam engines (Including an example of a Newcomen steam engine, the world’s first steam engine), a working example of Charles Babbage’s Difference engine, the first prototype of the 10,000-year Clock of the Long Now, and documentation of the first typewriter.
It also contains hundreds of interactive exhibits. A recent addition is the IMAX 3D Cinema showing science and nature documentaries, most of them in 3-D, and the Wellcome Wing which focuses on digital technology.
Here is a detailed look of every floor :
Level – 1
The Garden: Here your little ones play their way through water, light, sound and construction as they learn to observe, explore, and draw conclusions through play. This interactive gallery is designed for our youngest visitors .
The Secret life of the Home: From horse-drawn vacuum cleaners to pop-up toasters, trace the evolution of everyday household objects.
Also on this level there are picnic area and the Basement Café .
Making the Modern World: Here are some of the most iconic objects that have transformed our lives over the past 250 years: from Apollo 10, to the first Apple computer.
Here you can find penicillin from Fleming’s laboratory, a porcelain bowl salvaged from Hiroshima and a clock that will tell the time for the next 10,000 years.
In this exceptional gallery you can follow the cultural history of industrialisation from 1750 to the present day.
Energy Hall – you can trace the remarkable story of steam and how it shaped the world we live in today.
Steam has been the driving force behind British industry for 300 years. Without it, the Industrial Revolution could never have happened. Even now, steam provides 75% of the electricity we use every day.
Exploring Space – You’ll be able to see a full-sized replica of Eagle—the lander that took astronauts Armstrong and Aldrin to the Moon in 1969. Then discover how we are able to live in space—to breathe, eat, drink and go to the toilet.
Suspended from the ceiling are two real space rockets—a British Black Arrow and a United States Scout.
You can also find out how the space age started in 1957 with the launch of Sputnik 1 and see a full-size replica of the Huygens module that landed on Titan in 2005 and a model of the Beagle 2 Mars lander.
Pattern Pod – a special place, where children can explore water ripples without getting their feet wet, create symmetrical images on touch screens, follow robot trails and much more. Fun, interactive exhibits encourage them to recognise and copy patterns—or create entirely new ones of their own.
Tomorrow’s World – here you can see science news from every angle—from headline-grabbing gadgets to full-on feature exhibitions on hot topics.
On this floor there are also the IMAX theater , two restaurants and a shop .
Challenge of Materials – You can walk across a magnificent glass bridge suspended by steel wires spanning the main hall. Discover historic gems, state-of-the-art materials and bizarre items, such as a steel wedding dress. You’ll also see art installations from around the world. From cotton, wood and glass to titanium alloys, visit this gallery to discover a wide variety of materials.
Who Am I? – this exhibition 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.
The rest of Level 1 is closed because of new construction for a new home for the extensive Medicine Collection.
The Clockmakers’ Museum – The collection includes more than 1000 watches, 80 clocks, 25 marine chronometers and a number of fine sundials and examples of hand engraving, mapping the history of innovation in watch and clock making in London from 1600 to the present day.
Mathematics: The Winton Gallery – This bold and thought-provoking gallery, designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, examines the fundamental role mathematicians, their tools and ideas have played in building the world we live in.
Information Age – Here you can re-live remarkable moments in history, told through the eyes of those who invented, operated or were affected by the new wave of technology, from the first BBC radio broadcast in 1922 to the dawn of digital TV. Discover how wireless technology saved many lives on the Titanic and spread news of the disaster to the world within hours.
Atmosphere – this gallery is an exciting place to make sense of the climate—the science of how it works, what it’s doing now and what it might do next. Uncover the secrets of ice cores and stalagmites, then head for the future to wonder at the latest ideas for a low-carbon life.
Flight – From mankind’s earliest dreams of flight to the wide-body aeroplanes of today, discover the absorbing story of flight.
Overhead walkways allow you to get up close to aeroplanes suspended in the air. Examine exhibits from the pioneer days of aviation, including the world’s most authentic Antoinette monoplane (1909), Amy Johnson’s Gipsy Moth and the Vickers Vimy, which first crossed the Atlantic in 1919.
Engineer your future – this interactive exhibition for teens thinking about their futures, where challenges, games and films will help you understand what engineers do—and find out whether this could be a job for you. You can design a space rover that will travel the furthest across a challenging alien landscape full of jumps, boulders and slopes. Or play a game to build and test systems inspired by some seriously complex engineering, from electrical grids to rail networks and baggage handling systems .
Interesting experiment is the game FutureVille – to explore a city of the not-too-distant future and meet the women and men who engineer in places you didn’t expect—from hospitals to Hollywood.
If you get tired there are places to make a picnic or get a tea of coffee . And not to forget the souvenir shop, very dangerous for your wallet 🙂
The Science museum is open every day from 10.00 to 18.00 . You can combine it with visit to the nearby Natural History Museum or Victoria & Albert Museum . The entrance is free, but donations are very welcome . It is close to the Hyde Park, so this is another opportunity to explore 😉
Nevertheless, if you have kids with you my advice is to plan more time to spend in the Museum . The possibility of completely overwhelmed children and being able to walk away for hours is quite realistic . So, come early and , if you can, not on weekends or holiday .
This is the exact location, so you can plan how to get here :