I was at the science museum early this month in London, it’s one of the few museums which I really wanted to visit in a long time, (considering what they have on display actually floats my boat!) but never always been able to make the opening times (which closes usually at 5pm-6pm). This is so as learnt on my last visit to the nearby National History Museum- you do really need almost a whole afternoon to explore the place. I guess I was too ambitious trying to visit 2 museums on the same day!
Nonetheless I had the chance. Located in the heart of South Kensington, London beside the Imperial college London, the museum does looks old and colonial on the outside, but it is a whole different beast on the inside. It is bursting with modern glass facades, animated and LED displays. Even the lifts have an open concept, with all the innards exposed and tunneling in between the stairwells which circle the lift shaft, serving all full 7 exhibition floors (including basement) of the museum.
London Science Museum Main Atrium panorama
Entry to the museum requires some basic security screening, such as bag checks, etc. Thereafter you will be greeted by a long front museum walk (called the energy hall) which spans from the entrance along the main atrium of the museum. There are plenty to explore, each with their own unique sections to float any science-going enthusiast.
On the ground floor, there are the space sections as well as another huge area called “the making of the modern world” which features all the key technologies and machines which made the world it is today. One which particularly caught my eye is a genuine Ford Model T on display which is the world’s first production car, it’s pure eye candy for any engineer!
There are many hidden surprises throughout the museum as well. There is even a full IMAX 3D theater hidden in the building, as well as the Force field ride which is essentially a motion simulator ride offering an “ultimate multi-sensory experience with sight, sounds, touch and even smell”.
There are also smaller capsule motion simulator rides on the 3rd floor for about £2.50 per ride for those on a budget. Nearby is this large area called the launch pad which is essentially a large play area for children- there are loads of gizmos, gadgets and simple machines setup like the a science center to teach children some physical principals of science through play and discovery.
The place is popular with children and adults alike, with displays situated for all ages and geek/nerd levels- Meaning it caters to anyway who gawks at the awesomeness of a spaceships, antique cars, motion simulator or a thermionic valve computer- a place for everybody. Other sections includes the ship (marine) section, energy, computing & mathematics, agriculture, telecommunications, health, Medicine and veterinary. There was a special exhibit on during my visit, called the 1001 inventions, brought in association with the Jameel foundation. Bringing people into 1000 years of science & technology with the Muslim heritage in our world.
The marine section was rather impressive, with all the detailed and intricate scaled models of large cruise ships, naval vessels as well as engines on display. However, the place which I really liked will have to be the flight section despite it being mostly just a collection of old propeller, jet engines and aircraft all hung form the ceilings in a hangar-like environment.
One particularly thing I really love about Museums in London is the absence of admission charges. There are still many more museums to visit in London, the VA museum, the imperial war museum and so on. So far the only others I’ve been will be the National History & British Museum. And come to think about it, I had not actually totally explored these museums either, which only mean possible revisits too.
More photos of the Science Museum visit.