Science Museum - London

The Science Museum was originally part of the South Kensington Museum, along with the Victoria and Albert Museum. However, division occurred soon after the Museum’s doors opened, and in 1858 it broke away to become the Museum of Patents, containing many of the exhibits that it is still famous for to this day. In 1885 the Museum became the Science Museum in its own right, with its own identity and director. The Science Museum in its present location opened in stages between 1919 and 1928.

Today the Science Museum holds over 300,000 items, many marking key stages in the development of human and scientific understanding and development:

  • Stephenson’s Rocket – the first steam locomotive – that defied the thinking of the age proving that man could in fact breathe at speeds of over 25 mph.
  • The first jet engine – an invention that was to reduce the planet not only in size, but also in time, to a level that would not be surpassed until the arrival of the internet.
  • A working example of Charles Babbage’s Difference Engine – the world’s first computer.
  • A reconstruction model of DNA built by the men who discovered it in 1953 – Francis Crick and James Watson.

The Science Museum now has an IMAX cinema that shows documentaries on nature and science, many of them in 3D. There is also the Dana Centre, a bar and café, where regular talks by eminent scientists take place. In 2007 a talk by James Watson, one of the discoverers of DNA was cancelled when he stated that black people were not as intelligent as white people because they didn’t do as well in IQ tests.

Permanent exhibitions are on display in a number of halls at the Science Museum:

The East Hall is the vast and rising space that greets visitors to the Science Museum. It has a selection of important steam engines on display that document the story of the Industrial Revolution. There is also a bookshop dedicated entirely to science publications.

Exploring Space chronicles the history of human space exploration and documents not only mankind’s endeavours off of the planet but also the benefits gained back here on Earth.

The Making of the Modern World is an exhibition showing man’s technological achievements using some of the Museum’s most famous exhibits, including Stephenson’s Rocket, and the Apollo 10 command module.

Flight is one of the Science Museum’s oldest halls and exhibitions with full-size aeroplanes on display from differing aspects, plus myriad items all connected with mankind’s reach for the skies.

Launchpad is an area of the Science Museum that has long been a favourite with younger visitors, with over 50 interactive exhibits helping young minds better understand the processes of science that govern the world we live in.

Entrance to the Science Museum is free

Opening times:
Daily 10.00 – 18.00

Getting there:
By underground
The nearest tube station is South Kensington on the District, Circle and Piccadilly lines.
A pedestrian subway runs directly from the ticket barrier at South Kensington station to the Main Entrance of the Museum.
By bus
Bus routes 14, 49, 70, 74, 345, 360, 414, 430 and C1 stop outside South Kensington Underground Station, from where it is a five minute walk north to the Museum's Main Entrance.
Bus routes 9, 10, 52 and 70 stop outside the Royal Albert Hall on Kensington Gore, from where it is a five minute walk south to the Museum's Main Entrance.