It should be clear that we like to visit the museum. And fortunately there are many museums in London. Almost all suitable to take your child with you. In almost every museum there is something designed or decorated especially for children. Whether it is an entire floor, corner, space or a little book with assignments. There is always something for the little ones. My daughter of almost three years does not matter, she likes it anyway when I’m saing we will go to the museum. My little curious girl likes to go on discovery.
This time she did this with great pleasure in one of the largest science museums of the world: The Science Museum located on the Exhibition Road in South Kensington. That’s right, the street where we previously visited the Natural History Museum and Victoria & Albert Museum.
The Science museum provides an overview of a number of major scientific inventions from the last three hundred years. The museum was designed by Sir Richard Allison and was opened to the public in stages in the period 1919-28. Until the 1960s it was the British national library for science, medicine and technology. Nowadays the museum still owns a part of the library where you can find magazines, early books and manuscripts.
Part of the original collection was supplied by The Royal Society for the Promotion of Arts, Manufactures & Commerce, in addition to items that could not be covered in the 1851 Grand Exhibition. Currently, the museum has some 300,000 items spread over 40 rooms are decorated with various interactive exhibitions. Some of those exhibitions are temporarily other permanent. A recent addition is the IMAX 3D Cinema showing scientific and nature documentaries and the ‘Wellcome Wing‘ that focuses on digital technology and life science. The museum is a leading world center for the presentation of contemporary science to the public.
Upon entering the Science Museum we approach the East Hall, the first area that most visitors see when they enter the building. The space extends over three floors. The ground floor runs far to the back of the building and is for a large part filled with iconic steam engines of various types, including the oldest still-living James Watt jet engine. Together they show the story of the British industrial revolution.
The museum is huge and you would have to spend a whole day on it if you want to see everything. My daughter and I decided to do a part of the museum, so that we would also have some space left to play longer in ‘The Garden‘ downstairs in the basement of the Museum.
A little further on we enter the ‘Exploring Space’, a space full of rockets and presentations that tell the story about the exploration of the human space and the advantages that the space exploration has brought us. The ‘lifelike’ astronaut found Lara a bit scary. The moon, on the other hand, she could watch for hours.
The gallery that follows is the ‘Making the modern world‘. A relatively new exhibition, in which some of the most iconic objects of the museum, including Stephenson’s Rocket and Puffing Billy, Watson and Crick’s double helix and an Apollo spacecraft, are shown in an imaginative way in chronological order of the technological achievements of man. Lara is already excited when she sees a plane flying high above in the air. You can imagine how she reacted when an airplane was hanging in the air at less than 6 meters above her head. The old timers, steam locomotive and the old children’s toys in a display case also did well at Lara.
In the back of the museum we are approaching ‘Welcome Wing‘. This section covers several floors with various exhibitions focused on digital technology and bioscience. For example the exhibition In Future, which gives visitors a look into the future. En Digitopolis, shows how digital technology changes life and how it can influence the future. For Lara it seemed like a big playing field with screens, colors, benches and technical objects to behold. Time to walk through it a bit faster and move to ‘Pattern Pod’.
‘Pattern Pod’ is specially designed for children from 5 to 8 years old. Within these exhibitions children will learn skills such as recognizing, copying and making patterns – a starting point for scientific thinking. Children can discover the world and discover what will happen next.
Another nice interactive area within the museum for children, but also for adults, is Launchpad. Here you will find more than 50 presentations that illustrate many different concepts in the natural sciences. This space is often used to give demonstrations and live experiments to schools and the visiting public.
We decide to skip the exhibitions “Glimps of Medical History” and “Science and the Art of Medicine” on the fourth and fifth floor. Something that Lara might be as well too young for. And besides, I think her father would love to visit this section with his daughter. Because he is a scientist in the medical world as well.
Time to find our way towards the play paradise for the very young: ‘The Garden’. An interactive space for children from 3 to 6 years in which knowledge is learned about science. Children develop skills such as observing, predicting, testing and drawing conclusions. Colorful play objects in space invite the children to come into contact with the most important areas such as: light, sound, construction and water. All playground equipment was extensively tested by my little discoverer. The waterway, construction site and music corner seemed to be the most favorite.
We move towards the ‘Energy Café’ for our closing snack: apple juice for Lara, tea for mum and instead of the usual blackberry muffin, a delicious scone to share. Of course, afterwards, we must also take a quick look in the ‘Science Museum Shop‘, which is pretty big in the Science Museum. An elastic robot doll of wood was allowed to come home with us.
The Science Museum is a very interactive museum and you will never get bored. In addition to the permanent exhibitions with historical icons, the museum is really moving with the times in the field of science. The exhibitions are therefore very up to date. We will certainly visit this museum more often.
For more information about the museum, current programs and opening hours click here.