Dr Elizabeth Bruton is Curator of Technology and Engineering at the Science Museum, London. She was previously Heritage Officer at Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre, University of Manchester; Co-curator / Researcher for the Harry's Story: Henry Moseley, a scientist lost to war HLF-funded project and exhibition at the History of Science Museum, Oxford, and; postdoctoral researcher for AHRC-funded project Innovating in Combat: Telecommunications and intellectual property in the First World War, University of Leeds. Her research interests include museums, communications history, military history, electrical history, gender, Victorian technologies, and scientific institutions.
Zygalski sheets: Polish codebreaking and the role of reconstruction in the Top Secret exhibition at the Science Museum
A reflection on reconstructing Zygalski sheets, a manual grid-based system used by the Polish Cipher Bureau and Bletchley Park to decrypt German Enigma cipher messages, for the Top Secret exhibition at the Science Museum Group from 2019 to 2022.
Reports and commands: deciphering a health exhibition using the SPEAKING mnemonic
This study uses a mnemonic device called SPEAKING (Hymes, 1974) to analyse The Amazing You. This elaborate health exhibition, which ran at the Tampa Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) from 2008–2017, aimed to affect visitor behaviours.
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.
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.
Preserving skills and knowledge in heritage machinery operations
A knowledge capture method for use with heritage machinery in museums and cultural venues to reduce the risk of knowledge and skills loss, including a case study involving the historic industrial textiles machinery at the Science and Industry Museum.
‘Iron lung’ as metaphor
I will argue that ‘iron lung’ became eponymous as it connected the material reality of the NPV with imagined sensory experiences for publics in the UK, highlighting the often contradictory earlier metaphors of modernity and sound.
Obituary: Dame Margaret Weston, DBE, FMA (7 March 1926–12 January 2021)
Dame Margaret Weston, DBE, FMA (7 March 1926–12 January 2021), obituary
Science and the City: Valentine Gottlieb, immigrant engineer of Lambeth: his trade card of c. 1810 unpacked
In addition to uncovering the life and work of a relatively unknown immigrant engineer, this paper indicates how a detailed study of a small ephemeral museum object can unlock wider historical horizons.
Book review: Exploring Emotion, Care, and Enthusiasm in “Unloved” Museum Collections, edited by Anna Woodham, Rhianedd Smith and Alison Hess, Leeds, ARC Humanities Press, 2020
The Art and Science of Acoustic Recording: Re-enacting Arthur Nikisch and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra’s landmark 1913 recording of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony
‘Organising Sound’: how a research network might help structure an exhibition
The life and material culture of Hertha Marks Ayrton (1854-1923): suffragette, physicist, mathematician and inventor