5 Things You Probably Didn't Know About The Science Museum

Laura Reynolds
By Laura Reynolds Last edited 89 months ago

Last Updated 30 December 2016

5 Things You Probably Didn't Know About The Science Museum

A large part of London's Science Museum isn't in London at all... read on to find out why.

Photo: Theunis Viljoen LRPS

1. It used to be part of the V&A

Following the Great Exhibition of 1851, several of the exhibits were put into a new museum, the South Kensington Museum, which stood on the site now occupied by the V&A. The museum focused on science and the arts, although the science exhibits were moved to a separate building on Exhibition Road in 1862. The science and art collections didn't officially separate until 1909, when the science collection was named Science Museum.

2. A large part of it is in Swindon

The museum acquired Wroughton Airfield near Swindon in 1979 to house some of its largest objects, such as airplanes, hovercraft and other vehicles. It's not open to the public except by prior appointment.

Photo: riverain_5

3. Ahead of its time?

It's no surprise that a museum focusing on science and technology is forward thinking, but some of the museum's past special exhibitions [PDF] suggest that it was way ahead of its time. Environmental issues were being covered as far back as the 1930s, with an exhibition on noise abatement in 1935 and another about smoke pollution in 1936.

4. It's got a tiny Antony Gormley sculpture

Photo: Science Museum

Iron Baby, an artwork by sculptor Antony Gormley, can be found the the museum's Who Am I? gallery. The cast iron sculpture was created in 1999.

5. The Queen tweets... and gets a rude response

Science Museum hosted a momentous occasion in 2014 when Queen Elizabeth II sent her first tweet from @BritishMonarchy (an account which no longer exists) while at the museum. She went as far as to remove a glove for the occasion, before tapping out a message reading:

It is a pleasure to open the Information Age exhibition today at the @ScienceMuseum and I hope people will enjoy visiting. Elizabeth R.

The momentous occasion backfired for the BBC, when they broadcast @WolfgangDikface's reply: "fuck off".