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 five national UK museums and warmly invites contributions that resonate with their collections and practice.
16 CURRENT ISSUE Autumn 2021 - Issue 16
Issue 16 features a strong strain of research from within the Science Museum Group. Robert Gwynne brings together railway and computer histories by looking at the long engagement of the railways with data driven technologies; Abigail Wilson looks at the impact of Joseph Whitworth’s legacy on Manchester’s built environment; and Alex Rose discusses a collection of seismographs originally located at Eskdalemuir Observatory in Scotland. Charles Ormrod looks at the history of mechanised production in luxury goods while Pippi Carty-Hornsby discusses a methodology for capturing and preserving the disappearing (and often tacit) knowledge required to operate large working exhibits. In other articles, Curator Imogen Holmes-Roe discusses the history and direction of the Whitworth gallery, whilst David H Lee contributes a study of audience responses to a health exhibition in the USA with objectives to change behaviours. Our growing reviews section allows discussion of the crucial contemporary issues faced by museums. Here Subhadra Das discusses Corrine Fowler’s 'Green Unpleasant Land' while 'Photography Off the Scale' (eds Tomáš Dvořák and Jussi Parikka) is reviewed by Surya Bowyer.
Seismographs at Eskdalemuir Observatory, 1908–1925: tools for rethinking the origins of international cooperation in seismology
Four seismographs now preserved in the collections of the Science Museum Group were originally installed at Eskdalemuir Observatory, Scotland, between 1908 and 1925. By attending to their provenance, this paper reconsiders the role of John Milne in forging international cooperation in seismology.
A long engagement – railways, data and the information age
Despite the steam locomotive being the persistent image of railway history, this article aims to show that the railway’s early use of electrical technology within its business systems meant it was in closer alignment with the emergence of computer technology and its forebears than is usually assumed.
Philanthropy, industry and the city of Manchester: the impact of Sir Joseph Whitworth’s philanthropy on Manchester’s built environment
An exploration of the buildings philanthropically funded by Sir Joseph Whitworth’s legacy and their impact on the development of Manchester’s built environment.
The Whitworth: a place for Industry and Art
Informed by the ‘SMG Research Conference 2019: The Place of Industry’, this article reflects on the Whitworth’s history; from its founding principles to its new mission and vision to explore the continuing debates surrounding the relationship between art and industry.
Lyon Playfair: chemist and commissioner, 1818–1858
This article explores Lyon Playfair's life between 1818 and 1858, from his birth to his appointment as Professor of Chemistry at the University of Edinburgh.
The role of women in the science city: London 1650–1800
This article traces the contributions made by women to the growth of the instrument-making trade and the emergence of a scientific culture in London between 1650 and 1800.
Clinical images, imperial power and Bhau Daji’s secret treatment for leprosy at the Royal College of Physicians Museum
This article explores a collection of medical photographs and illustrations from the Royal College of Physicians Museum showing patients treated for leprosy by Dr Bhau Daji in the mid-nineteenth century.
Contagious Cities: an international collaborative enquiry
Contagious Cities explored infectious diseases in Geneva, New York, Hong Kong and Berlin through a variety of cultural programmes. We examine its outputs and outcomes, the complexities of working with multiple stakeholders, and what might be learned from its approach to partnership and commissioning.
Artist interviews – new art for Medicine: The Wellcome Galleries
This article brings artistic and curatorial voices to reflect on the meaning of four major new art commissions in Medicine: The Wellcome Galleries. Curator of Art Collections, Katy Barrett, talks with artists Eleanor Crook, Marc Quinn, and Studio Roso.
Curating Medicine: The Wellcome Galleries
The curators of Medicine: The Wellcome Galleries reflect on their experiences of creating these significant new displays at the Science Museum in London.