The Science Museum of London is one part of the trifecta which forms one of the most prestigious museum centres in the United Kingdom. Falling under the auspices of the National Museum of Science and Industry, the Science Museum is located on the Exhibition Road of South Kensington and shares the limelight with its sister institutions the Victoria and Albert Museums in the borough of Kensington and Chelsea.
Encompassing seven floors, the Science Museum invites you on a journey of discovery. Its interactive galleries take you through an exploration of the history of technology, its evolution to the modern-day and the visions of the future of mankind.
The museum was originally conceived as part of the South Kensington Museum in 1857 with items left over from the Great Exhibition that was an epoch-marking event in the Victorian era. These items included among its ranks some of the early prototype machinery such as the oldest surviving steam train, a functional model of the Babbage Difference Engine, the first-ever jet engine, documents from the early experiments for a typewriter and the prototype of the Clock of Long Now. These later formed the Museum of Patents and were shifted the Science Collections of the South Kensington Museum.
It was in 1909 that the exhibits of the Science Collections became so extensive that it was declared a museum in its own right and appointed its own director. This was to be the first incarnation of the institution that stands today, whose present buildings were opened to the public in the latter days of the 1920s.
Today, the Museum’s collection comprises over 300,000 items, the most renowned of which pertain to medical science and related fields. These are largely concentrated on the fourth floor, which is devoted to reconstructive performances on the history of medical practice, and the fifth floor, which investigates the modus operandi and instruments of ancient doctors from across the world’s cultures. The newly-established wing named in honor of pharmaceutical entrepreneur Henry Wellcome is one of the leading centres of contemporary bio-science in the world.
The Science Museum houses a library which functioned as the National Library for Science, Medicine and Technology until the 1960s and still claims membership with the London Museums of Health and Medicine. Its medical collection is widely acknowledged to be among the best in the world.
The ground floor, named the Launch pad, is devoted to the subject of Space Exploration and also offers a visual reconstruction of the Industrial Revolution. Here, over 50 exhibits showcase invaluable relics such as some of the last remaining steam locomotives.
The consecutive levels expounds on subjects such as food, metals, communication and energy generation, including a fascinating discourse on nuclear power. The third floor is an intriguing visual narrative of photography as well a “Flight” gallery which features full-size historic aircraft on display. “Making the Modern World” is yet another new and popular gallery that is a veritable trophy case of man’s scientific achievements, which includes Apollo spacecraft and Stephenson’s Rocket.
One of the aspects that makes this institution a favourite of both adults and children is the way complex concepts are explained in layman’s terms, allowing the public to comprehend the wonder and extent of modern scientific discoveries. The in-house IMAX Theater which plays 2D and 3D documentaries for visitors is one of the features that most ably assist in this endeavor, as do the “Explainers” on staff and the live experiments and dramatizations conducted for the benefit of visiting school children. Of late the museum’s touring exhibitions on contemporary science have also garnered worldwide interest and recognition.
The many fascinations and wonders stored within the Science Museum and its sister institutions can be adequately explored by a visitors fortunate enough to find accommodation at a Central London hotel. Millennium Bailey’s Hotel London Kensington is one such reputed 4-star lodging option that presents some of the best London hotel offersthat also guarantee quality of service and facilities.