Collections of the Science Museum
The Science Museum is a “member of the big trio” on the Exhibition Road and one of London’s most visited museums as it is estimated to be visited by over 2.5 million people per year. Just like other London’s most prominent museums, the Science Museum started with a relatively modest collection when founded in the mid-19th century. Over the next one century and a half, however, its collection expanded to include more than 300,000 items, among which are also the Stephenson’s Rocket, James Watt beam engine, Apollo spacecraft, Spitfire and Hurricane fighters, and many other highly valuable pieces from history of science and technology.
Collections of the Science Museum are displayed in a number of galleries, with some being displayed permanently and others temporary. Though the Museum’s collections consist of a wide range of objects, they can broadly be divided into:
Science collections. These contain objects that are related to scientific research and tools used either at observation, experimentation or analysis. The science collections encompass objects from a variety of fields including physics, mathematics, chemistry, natural history, earth sciences, astronomy, navigation, weights and measures, and horology.
ICT collections. The ICT collections cover everything that is related to information and communications technology including electronics, computing, media, printing, radio, telephony, and more, providing a comprehensive overview of the ICT development through time.
Engineering technologies collections. These encompass objects which shaped the world we live in today and profoundly changed just about all aspects of life from manufacturing to everyday life. The display of the engineering technologies collections, however, also features the impact of particular technologies on the environment.
Medical collections. The Museum of Science is famous worldwide for its outstanding medicine related collections. In fact, its medical collections are widely considered as the most comprehensive in the world. They include all sorts of instruments and equipment used in medicine from prehistoric times to the first prototypes of modern equipment from all over the world.
Highlights of the Science Museum Collections
It is difficult to pick a few from hundreds of thousands of objects but the Museum is especially proud of the previously mentioned Stephenson’s Rocket and other items from the Bennet Woodcroft and the Patent Office Museum collection, the Penn-Gaskell collection of aeronautics, the Percy Collection, The Roentgen Society collection of X-ray tubes and of course, the Henry Wellcome medical collection.