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Is there a question you’d always wanted to ask a curator of the Science Museum, but never had the chance to ask before? Well, tomorrow is your chance to ask those burning questions, because it’s Ask a Curator Day – a worldwide Q&A session which lets you put questions to museums around the world, and the Science Museum in London is taking part!

Have you ever noticed on exhibition labels, the small, sometimes non-sensical number that follows the blurb about an object? These numbers are vital to help us find out what the object is and locate it on our database. With a collection of over 200,000 objects, on three different sites and around 95% in storage we certainly need all the help we can get. When objects arrive at the museum they are  assigned a temporary number. Many different systems have been used […]

As a warm up for Ask a Curator day tomorrow, I thought I would give you an in-depth look at one of our objects that has been generating a lot of comments on Twitter. You may remember a post by my colleague, Stewart, on Arms, legs and ex-Servicemen showing our 20th century collection of prosthetic limbs. The history of artificial limbs is inseparable from the history of amputations and closely linked to warfare.  This artificial arm was made for someone who had their left arm amputated above […]

Is there a burning question that you’d like to ask a curator? Maybe what’s your favourite object? What’s the tiniest object in your collection? How do you go to the loo in space? Well now’s your chance, because 1 September is ‘Ask a Curator Day’ – a unique worldwide Q&A session which lets you put questions to museums. A crack team of Science Museum curators and other staff members will be standing by – so start thinking now. All you have to […]

A couple of weeks ago I talked about how we got the aircraft into our Flight gallery, in response to a Twitter question. I said I’d been to our photo archive to see if we had any pictures of the 1960s aircraft installation, and I turned up lots of great images. Well, the scans have just arrived, so for those interested in how to get a Supermarine S6B world-speed-record-breaking aeroplane into a third-floor gallery in central London in 1961, here goes… […]

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. To get the aircraft into the gallery, we took some windows out, built […]

We curators field lots of questions from the public about the Museum collections. One of the most common ones is when visitors remember seeing something when they came as a child, and now, back with their children, or grandchildren, want to know why they can’t find it again. Sometimes the answer is simple (the dinosaurs are next door!). At other times, galleries have closed, or objects been taken off display – and this is the fate of our shrunken heads, or tsantsas. […]

What have you always wanted to ask a curator? You might have a question about the Science Museum’s exhibitions or galleries, about our collections, library and archives, or more general questions about life in a museum. Leave a comment and we’ll try to find the answer for you.