Queen Elizabeth II’s association with the Science Museum began on 21 March 1938, when as an eleven-year-old princess, she toured the museum with sister Princess Margaret and grandmother Queen Mary. They visited our Children’s Gallery, which was the first of its kind in the world to explain scientific principles to children with what we now call interactive exhibits.
The Coronation seen around the world
Queen Elizabeth II began her reign championing the use and development of science and technology by encouraging the broadcasting of her 1953 Coronation on television, creating the first global mass television spectacle.
This pivotal moment for Queen Elizabeth II and our nation is featured in the museum’s Information Age gallery, where visitors can see the television cameras which filmed the Coronation, watch the Coronation and hear from people who experienced television for the first time because of this event.
Queen Elizabeth II visiting the Science Museum
In November 1966, Queen Elizabeth II and The Duke of Edinburgh, in the presence of the President of Pakistan, Muhammad Ayub Khan, opened the Engineers’ Day exhibition at the museum. Organised by the Ministry of Technology, the exhibition aimed to encourage more young people to become engineers
The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh visited again in 1969 to open the Science Museum Library (the precursor to our Dana Research Centre and Library) and then again in June 1988 to open the East Hall Gallery. Now known as the Energy Hall, this gallery traces the remarkable story of steam and how it shaped the world we live in today.
Queen Elizabeth II returned in 2000 to open the museum’s Wellcome Wing, which focuses on contemporary science through temporary displays and exhibitions, and has hosted past exhibitions such as Mission to Mercury and Driverless: Who is in Control?, and current galleries such as Who am I? and Engineer Your Future and as well as IMAX: The Ronson Theatre.
HM The Queen joins the online conversation
Queen Elizabeth II’s visit to the Science Museum in 2014 created headlines around the world as Her Majesty sent her first tweet.
The tweet officially opened the Information Age gallery and marked the first time a reigning British monarch had contributed to the social media channel.
In the Instagram post, The Queen noted that ‘it seems fitting to me that I publish this Instagram post at the Science Museum which has long championed technology, innovation and inspired the next generation of inventors.’ The post featured correspondence from The Royal Archives between Charles Babbage and Queen Elizabeth II’s great-great-grandfather Prince Albert about the Difference Engine, now part of the Science Museum Group Collection and on display in our Making The Modern World Gallery.
As we celebrate Queen Elizabeth ll’s Platinum Jubilee, it is with great joy that we reflect on her prevailing and meaningful support of science and technology, as well as the special relationship that we at the Science Museum are privileged to have with HM The Queen.