Tag Archives: num:ScienceMuseum=1920-52

How did we get the planes in?

Last week one of our visitors asked us a question via Twitter while looking round our third-floor Flight gallery:

Help me settle a debate @sciencemuseum, how did you get the planes in the flight exhibit into the building?

Good question. First opened in 1963, the gallery was refurbished in the 1990s when a couple of new planes (including our Hawker jump-jet and a Hawker Siddeley executive jet) were added.

HS.125 executive jet, 1965 (Science Museum / Science & Society)

To get the aircraft into the gallery, we took some windows out, built a platform out above the service road that runs alongside the building, and craned the aircraft up and inside. Most were dismantled before transportation – the wings were removed, for instance – and then they were rebuilt inside the gallery before being hung up.

We’ve got planes in other galleries, too. If you made it to the Making the Modern World gallery during your visit, you’ll have found a gorgeous Lockheed ‘Electra’ airliner swooping down on you, as well as an Avro 504K biplane, a Rolls-Royce vertical-take-off test rig and a Short SC 1 aircraft.

Short SC 1 aircraft and Rolls-Royce test rig, 1950s (Science Museum / Science & Society)

As this gallery is on the ground floor, life was a bit easier. The aircraft were brought in to the gallery on low-loaders, reassembled on the gallery floor, then hung up by a team of rigging contractors. This was done before the smaller exhibits were installed, but it was still a real 3D jigsaw for the project managers to work it out.

Lockheed 'Electra' airliner (Science Museum / Science & Society)

I’ve found some lovely photos of the early-1960s aircraft installation. I’m getting them scanned, and I’ll post them here in a couple of weeks. Watch this space…

Walking in a winter wonderland

As we navigate our way through the festive season, and possibly eat and drink a little more than is wise, it is always worth remembering the most basic transportation device of all: Shank’s pony, or going for a walk.

Maybe you’re a sporty type like these two, full of energy and ready to bound out of the house for a good stride across the countryside…

Hiking railway poster, c.1930s (NRM / Pictorial Collection / Science & Society)

'Hiking' railway poster, c.1930s (NRM / Pictorial Collection / Science & Society)

You can even keep count of your paces as you march along using a pedometer…

Pedometer, eighteenth century (Science Museum / Science & Society)

Pedometer, eighteenth century (Science Museum / Science & Society)

But if that’s not sporty enough for you, you could always try wing-walking…

Mr Hearns wing-walking on an Avro 504K biplane, 1932 (Simmons Aerofilms / Science & Society)

Mr Hearns wing-walking on an Avro 504K biplane, 1932 (Simmons Aerofilms / Science & Society)

This fearless chap is wing-walking on an Avro 504K biplane. You can see one of these aircraft suspended from the ceiling of our Making the Modern World gallery, but I wouldn’t try climbing onto the wing if I were you…