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Issue 19

The Spring Issue of the Journal is now out! This is an open issue that includes research focusing on the Science Museum Group’s own collections – you’ll find a re-evaluation of an important electronic synthesizer with a focus on its role in live performance; a discussion of how an Indigenous Australian shield came to be categorised as part of a fire-making collection. There are also two papers looking at research with museum publics: one reporting on a study of how we can support young children’s learning from science objects, the other exploring public perceptions of contemporary collecting. A fascinating piece of oral history research (featuring numerous recorded interviews) looks at the experience of government scientists at the point where privatisation radically changed the profession. And finally, we are delighted to feature a paper by Prasannan Parthasarathi, the first Journal keynote speaker at November’s Research Conference who gave an outstanding presentation on textiles history from an Indian perspective - you can find a video of the full presentation here. You’ll see a slight change to the style and layout of the Journal as we have migrated to a new content management system. We hope you’ll continue to enjoy, circulate and consider contributing to our fully open access peer-reviewed journal.

Issue 19 (Spring 2023)

Research grant successes

The Research and Public History department at the Science Museum Group has recently been successful in winning three major grants that will help us rethink responses to big cultural issues, develop our curatorial practices, and make connections with overseas researchers. Long Histories of Collaboration (MaILHoC) is a 600,000 EUR bid to the ‘heritage, society, and ethics’ call of the Joint Programming Initiative on Cultural Heritage (JPI CH) administered by the Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR) in France. Over the next two years, MaILHoC will see postdoctoral researchers employed at the Science Museum and our partners Aix-Marseille Université in France and Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona in Spain examining the ethics of industrial patronage on museums of science, technology, and medicine. The project will begin in May 2022, with recruitment beginning shortly. 'Science through the keyhole: revealing scientific practices through workspaces' was a successful AHRC Network grant proposal. It will investigate three core questions: What is a scientific workspace? How does space constitute scientific practice (and vice versa)? And how can historical workspaces of scientific practice be recreated, evoked, and interpreted for museum visitors? Finally, a British Council Connections Through Culture UK-South East Asia Grant has been awarded to colleagues at The National Museum of Indonesia (which holds the Indonesian medical collections). This grant will pay for contributions to three online workshops as well as at least one visit from an Indonesian delegation.

Invitation to contribute to the Journal

We invite scholars and museum professionals to submit original research, discussion or review papers relating to subjects that chime with the interests of the Science Museum Group and the wider science museum community for forthcoming issues of the Journal. Issue 19 (Spring 2023) is now in production. Among a range of fascinating research articles we are especially delighted to feature a paper by Prasannan Parthasarathi the first Journal keynote speaker at November’s Science Museum Group Research Conference. Speaking to the conference theme of the history of textiles and material culture, Professor Parthasarathi’s paper is on ‘The Indian Challenge and the Rise of Manchester’. You can find a video of the full presentation here. Issue 20 (Autumn 2023) has a deadline of 1 April 2023. Submission guidelines can be viewed here. If you have general questions about article submission or if you would like to contribute an article, discussion or review piece please don’t hesitate to contact the editorial team at [email protected]


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The Dana Research Centre and Library

The Dana Research Centre is located in the Wellcome Wolfson Building at the rear of the Science Museum, in South Kensington, London. Opened in 2016, the Dana Research Centre aims to promote the Science Museum as an important centre for scholarly research and it is home to the Museum’s Research & Public History Department, and to the Museum’s students and funded research projects. The Centre also provides a library with a selection of books and journals, a reading room and public access to the Science Museum’s electronic resources. Here the public can access and order items from the Museum’s extensive and rich library and archive collections stored at Wroughton (the Group’s large storage facility near Swindon). Do come and visit us to pick up a library card and browse the collection. More details, including the address can be found here. General questions about Library aspects may be directed to [email protected], and more general research programme enquiries to [email protected]

Collaborative Doctoral Awards

Six projects within the Science Museums and Archives Consortium (SMAC) start this year, including projects on the design mediation and consumption of Kenwood’s kitchen appliances, collecting the boundaries of art in the Science Museum, and, at the National Railway Museum, Between Worlds: Kenneth Cantlie and locomotive engineering in Africa, the Americas and Asia. 18 applications to the 2020 CDP round are now being assessed.

The Museum recently received AHRC Follow-on Funding for the project, Communicating Time and Culture. This builds on the findings of the original project Time, Culture and Identity, a collaboration between the Science Museum and the Palace Museum, China. It will fund a series of cultural events associated with the upcoming exhibition Zimingzhong: Clockwork Treasures from China’s Forbidden City and will allow us to engage different audience segments with the displays.

Please contact us at [email protected] if you wish to develop a proposal for future deadlines. Further details about the doctoral awards is given on the Science Museum’s Research and Public History webpages here.

Research Seminars

The Science Museum’s Research & Public History department continues to support a range of workshops, conference and seminars. Full details of all future seminars will be published here soon.

Special event

On Thursday 20th July 2023, exhibition designer Dinah Casson will talk about her experience of working with collections and museums. Casson set up her design practice in 1970 and her partnership with Roger Mann in 1984. Her projects have ranged from the object-based British Galleries at the V&A and the Great North Museum in Newcastle, through to the highly technological Churchill Museum in the Cabinet War Rooms and the Lord Ashcroft gallery at the Imperial War Museum. More recently Casson Mann have designed projects in the UK, US, Russia, Italy and the Middle East. Their work has been published extensively and has won numerous awards. Dinah Casson’s book, Closed on Mondays – Behind the Scenes at the Museum turns a spotlight on aspects of museums and galleries that most people rarely give a second thought to – the labels, frames, windows, even the coat-check. Casson uses these seemingly mundane elements to explore issues that are intrinsically linked with our experience of these cultural institutions, ranging from truth and interpretation through to the nature of collections and collectors and the impact of the gallery environment on how visitors respond to what they see. The event will take place in the Dana Studio. You can book your (free) ticket here:

Dinah Casson: Collections and consequences | Science Museum


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