Science Museum Group Journal
The Science Museum Group Journal presents the global research community with peer-reviewed papers relevant to the wide-ranging work of the Science Museum Group. The journal freely shares the research of four national UK museums and warmly invites contributions that resonate with their collections and practice.
05 CURRENT ISSUE Spring 2016 - Science Museums and Research
Issue 05 of the Journal celebrates several important recent and upcoming events in the Science Museum Group. Preceding the inaugural research conference in April that marks the opening of the new Dana Research Centre and Library at the Science Museum, we feature several articles from key conference speakers discussing themes including co-production, museum visiting as a kind of research, and issues relating to the display of objects. Andrew McLean, for instance, commemorates the world famous Flying Scotsman’s flagship journey following an extensive conservation/renovation programme. His article explores the role the Flying Scotsman has played in the ‘preservation of authenticity’ in the context of Britain’s industrial heritage. Doug Millard, curator of the Cosmonauts exhibition gives his insight into the project as it moves out of the Science Museum. And Iris Veysey, one of the curators of the upcoming Mathematics gallery at the Museum offers a new type of ‘object focus’ article that explores early use of statistics by Florence Nightingale and Harriet Martineau, and the production of the ‘Rose Diagram’.
Flying Scotsman: modernity, nostalgia and Britain’s ‘cult of the past’
This article explores the rescue and restoration of the world famous steam locomotive Flying Scotsman in 1963 and explores wider questions about what it means to preserve cultural objects and how, if at all, their authenticity can be preserved.
Functionless: science museums and the display of ‘pure objects’
Displays of instruments in science museums are closer to those of decorative arts artefacts than to the presentation of real functional and practical objects. This article offers a critique and suggests a path forward to go beyond functionless objects.
Thinking things through: reviving museum research
How can invigorating research be reseeded in science museums? I believe that their investigative agendas can be rejuvenated through a focus on material culture, approached as authentic, singular opportunities for heightened aesthetic delving, and this marshalled through a programmed range of experiences, intelligences and disciplines.
The Science Museum and the Leonardo da Vinci Quincentenary Exhibition of 1952
This article tells the story of the Science Museum’s role in an exhibition at the Royal Academy, London, in 1952, to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the birth of Leonardo da Vinci, and in particular in displaying mechanical models based on Leonardo’s drawings.
The Cosmonauts challenge
This paper investigates how the development of new contacts and partnerships has contributed not only to the loan of material of historic significance to the Science Museum’s exhibition, but more broadly changes perceptions about Russia and its space programme in the western world.
Through the Lens of a Space Tourist
As the first paying customer to fly to the ISS, Dennis Tito’s journey can be seen as a historic turning point within the history of space travel following the end of the Space Race and inaugurating the space programme as a new marketplace.