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.
12 CURRENT ISSUE Autumn 2019 - Issue 12
The Science Museum Group is almost unique in that it is itself an object of research, it produces its own research (by itself and in collaboration), and it is a resource for others conducting research. Issue 12 reflects this variety. Collaborative projects feature in a number of articles. Taking a ‘micro-fellowship’ at the National Railway Museum as a case study, Anna Geurts and Oliver Betts discuss how museum/academic partnerships can work better. A mini-collection of papers on ‘Technologies of Romance’ showcases a collaboration between the Science Museum and Central St Martins University of the Arts where different disciplinary approaches to the interaction between technology and human society collide. Meanwhile, Anna Woodham and Elizabeth Haines describe yet another collaboration: a joint Science Museum Group/King's College London study on the role of enthusiast expert groups as ambassadors for stored collections. Other papers in this issue reflect museum practice internationally: Tacye Phillipson’s article describes a statistical analysis of collecting at National Museums Scotland, while Tom Everett discusses the challenges of replicating Alexander Graham Bell and Clarence J Blake’s ear phonautograph for Sound by Design, a new permanent gallery at the Canada Science and Technology Museum. From outside the museum world Sara Dominici presents fascinating research on the parallel development of the bicycle and the camera and its impact on the modern mobile gaze. In a paper showing the richness of archival research, Hannah Bower analyses a series of editions of an eighteenth-century pamphlet on treating scrofula, showing how they illuminate the fluid relationships between readers and authors, patients and experts. The Issue is completed by a review of a new book on James Watt, and an exhibition review of a ‘de-colonised’ gallery at the Royal Museum of Central Africa in Belgium.
‘Valentine from A Telegraph Clerk ♂ to a Telegraph Clerk ♀’ by James Clerk Maxwell: the material culture and standards of early electrical telegraphy
This paper explores the material culture, electrical standards, and romance of early cable telegraphy as described in renowned physicist James Clerk Maxwell’s slightly tongue-in-cheek 1860 poem 'Valentine from A Telegraph Clerk ♂ to a Telegraph Clerk ♀'.
New mobile experiences of vision and modern subjectivities in Late Victorian Britain
The article explores the new way of seeing enabled by cycling in relation to the experience and temporality of late nineteenth century modernity, questioning how this influenced photographers’ approach to the representation of what was, effectively, a modern, moving, gaze.
An overlooked eighteenth-century scrofula pamphlet: changing forms and changing readers, 1760–1824
This article explores the medical context, editorial history and varied reader reception of an eighteenth-century pamphlet on scrofula written by John Morley, a wealthy Essex landowner.
‘A small Scar will be much discerned’: treating facial wounds in early modern Britain
This article examines the surgical treatment and prevention of facial wounds and scars in early modern Britain through a close study of the unpublished casebook of St Bartholomew’s Hospital surgeon Joseph Binns.
A history of amulets in ten objects
This article presents a historical survey of ten amulets using objects from the Science Museum collections. What can we learn about the place of amulets in the larger narrative of European healing from the early modern era to the present day?
From the White Man’s Grave to the White Man’s Home? Experiencing ‘Tropical Africa’ at the 1924–25 British Empire Exhibition
This article analyses the exhibition and reception of Tropical Africa at the 1924–25 British Empire Exhibition, drawing attention to affect, the senses, and spatiality. It emphasises the need to look beyond curatorial intent and consider the multiplicity of potential experiences within World’s Fairs.