Skip to content

By Merel van der Vaart on

Science Museum History Open House

Find out what happened at our History Open House event

This post was written by Tara Knights, a work placement student with the Research & Public History department  from Sussex University’s MA Art History and Museum Curating.

On Saturday the 16th June, the Research and Public History department organised a History Open House event at the Dana centre. The event showcased how the Science Museum’s collections, library and archives could be valuable resources for people who are researching their local or community heritage. The event was attended by members from local community groups, history societies, arts organisations and subject enthusiasts who had an interest in their Science, Technology, Engineering or Medical heritage.

Associate Curator Merel van der Vaart presenting at History Open House (Credit: Hilary Geoghegan)

The participants were firstly provided with the opportunity to attend two gallery tours of Making the Modern World and the Science and Art of Medicine, where they could explore some of the collections already on display in the Museum. Afterwards there was the opportunity to talk to staff and ask questions about the resources available to them and the ways in which they can be accessed. Please follow this link if you would like to learn more about the collections or wish to search the collections online.

Secondly, the participants were shown around the Science Museum’s Library, where they learnt about two dimensional collections. Not only do these include books and journals, but also original histories, biographies and digital sources.  The Science Museum Library is based inSouth Kensington, but there is also an Archive collection held at Wroughton. Wroughton Library and Archive  contains original scientific, engineering and technology material from the last 500 years.

BPS Curator of Psychology Phil Loring showing participants objects from the medical collection. (Credit: Merel van der Vaart)

The day aroused great interest from the attending participants, and many were surprised with the wide variety of resources that are available in the Museum and Library and Archives beyond the display cases and exhibits.

For participants that were interested in funding opportunities for their research project, an external representative for the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) was invited to talk about the All Our Stories grant scheme. This scheme is a wonderful opportunity for projects that intend to explore, share and celebrate heritage and range from £3,000.-  to £10,000.-. More information about All Our Stories can be found here.


The Science Museum History Open House was made possible by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.