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Pamphlet written in the hand of William Herschel giving instructions for the use of his Newtonian reflecting telescope with altazimuth stand
Spring 2019, | Editorial


Kate Steiner

Science Museum Group Journal Issue 11

With the publication of Issue 11 of the Science Museum Group Journal we enter our sixth year of existence in the world of open access online journals. It is heartening to look back on the last five years and see how far we’ve come.

With over a hundred articles brought to an annual audience of around 25,000 readers, the numbers seem healthy. Dig deeper and we are living up to our ambitions of representing the broad interests of the Science Museum Group family while attracting authors from UK and international universities and museums. This issue, for instance, features authors from Russia and the USA, as well as Leeds, Oxford, Cardiff and Kent in the UK.

Topics are also broad. You’ll find object-focused research on a selection from the Science Museum’s amulet collection, a discussion of the Crystal Palace dinosaur models, an evaluation of the use of a game to communicate the history of science to nurses, and a discussion of the importance of processions as a response to episodes of plague in sixteenth-century Italy, to name just a few.

What am I most proud of over the last five years? Firstly, our ability to encourage promising new academics, represented in this issue by Jules Skotnes-Brown, winner of last year’s writing prize, who presents a nuanced exploration of the 1924/25 British Empire Exhibition (itself a difficult idea for contemporary readers) by exploring the tensions between curatorial agendas and the sensorial experience of visitors. Secondly, I’m pleased to see the Journal reflect the increasingly collaborative ways we conduct research within the group. The paper here on the conservation of a newly discovered eighteenth-century clock came out of a symposium called “Sensing Time”, held in partnership with the Victoria and Albert Museum, while three history of medicine papers emerged from a symposium entitled “Wounded”, which brought together academics whose work would help inform the Science Museum’s new Medicine Galleries.

There’s always more to do, of course. I”m currently asking myself how we can better reflect museum practice and present daily research which would normally appear as “grey literature” while maintaining our peer review standards. How can we experiment with article formats, especially by exploiting our ability to show images, film and multi-media? How can we feature collections of articles in ways that the reader can easily identify and navigate through? All interesting terrain to explore: roll on the next five years.


Kate Steiner

Kate Steiner

Editor, Science Museum Group Journal

Kate Steiner is the creator and editor of the Science Museum Group Journal


Kate Steiner
Published date:
1 May 2019
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Spring 2019,
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