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This first issue of the Science Museum Group Journal conveys some of the breadth and depth of research surrounding the Group’s collections and activities. It includes new research, for example, on William Bally’s set of phrenological heads (one of the Science Museum’s most beautiful objects) and on the historical significance of James Watt’s workshop, as well as a close look at how eighteenth-century instrument makers used printed books . Discussion papers explore ideas about heroism and the effectiveness of the movement to engage the public with science.