Ben Russell has worked for the Science Museum since 1999 and been curator of mechanical engineering since 2003. He wrote ‘James Watt: Making the World Anew (Reaktion 2014), edited ‘Robots’ (Scala, 2017), and was lead curator for the museum’s East Hall (2005) and Watt’s Workshop (2011) galleries, as well as temporary exhibitions ‘Cosmonauts’ (2015) and ‘Robots’ (2017-2021). Ben has recently drawn up plans to refresh the East Hall and publish an accompanying book, and is presently lead curator for a new gallery, working title ‘Engineers’, based around the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering, opening in June 2023.
The role of digital humanities in an interdisciplinary research project
This discussion paper will reflect on the contribution of DH to complex interdisciplinary projects, using the Congruence Engine as a case study. It will focus in particular on the value of DH, and DH researchers, in bridging perceived gaps between disciplines and in translating between the computational and, in this instance, the historical.
Connecting places and collections
This article briefly describes the development of the Historic England Archive and how this has shaped its industrial collections. A case study describing the collection of a power-station artefact illustrates the challenges involved in collecting industrial heritage.
Collaborative conversation as a method for exploring multiple perspectives on ‘community’ and forms of knowledge in the Congruence Engine
This article explores collaborative conversation as a method to surface multiple perspectives on community engagement and forms of knowledge creation in the Congruence Engine project.
Energising connections in museum collections
How can we most usefully interconnect the collections of energy artefacts in our museums? The Congruence Engine project’s energy team explore the challenges and possibilities of doing so, focusing initially on the twin themes of steam turbines and coal-mining disasters.
Staging listening: new methods for engaging audiences with sound in museums
This article reports on the methodology and findings of the project ‘Sonic Futures: Collecting, Curating and Engaging with Sound at the National Science and Media Museum’. The article argues that engaging with listening audiences can diversify and enrich museum listening scenarios.
Embedding plurality: exploring participatory practice in the development of a new permanent gallery
A symposium on histories of use and tacit skills