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conservation

Charlotte Connelly is a content developer on Information Age, an exciting new gallery about information and communication, opening in September 2014. This week over in the Information Age team we passed an exciting marker. Instead of counting the time to the gallery opening in years, for the first time we’ve slipped into counting in weeks and months. It seemed like a good opportunity to reflect on what we’ve done so far, and some of the interesting things we still have to […]

Cate Watson, Content Developer takes a look at the pride and passion of Charles Babbage. Designing the Difference and Analytical engines was a monumental task, demanding dedication and extreme attention to detail. Both engines were made up of thousands of parts that required near identical manufacturing – pushing Victorian technology to its limits. And Babbage was determined to make the machines operate without any possibility of errors. Babbage was very certain his engines would work. His passion for his machines kept […]

Charlotte Connelly is a Content Developer on Information Age, a new exhibition opening in 2014. She works on stories about mobile phones, radio and television. Diana McCormack and Esther Sharp are conservators based at the Science Museum’s stores at Wroughton. This week I’ve headed up to Manchester to talk about a tiny part of Information Age at the biggest ever history of science conference. Together with some other people from the Information Age team I’m running a special session about […]

Jennifer Bainbridge, Conservator on the new Information Age gallery, writes about the conservation of Morse code tapes from the SS Great Eastern, 1865, a ship which undertook the laying of transatlantic telegraph cable. John Liffen, Curator of Communication, provides details of transcription. As one of the conservators working on the new Information Age gallery, opening in September 2014, I handle, document and carry out treatments on objects destined for display.  Working so closely with artifacts means I am often in the lucky position […]

Today we have a treat for fans of our Oramics to Electronica: Revealing Histories of Electronic  exhibition; a lovely little behind the scenes podcast about the Oramics machine! A B-Side to the main exhibition, if you will. Nick Street‘s documentary about the creation of the exhibition features many fascinating interviews with contemporary electronic musicians, colleagues of Daphne Oram, and the curators and conservators behind the exhibition. Bonus material from Nick’s interviews was used to create this podcast, which features Science Museum Conservator Dennis […]

Wrapped up beneath these bandages is a mummified animal. How did it die? What material is it wrapped in? Are there amulets we can’t see inside? Is it an animal at all – could they be human remains? To answer question like these and more, the Science Museum is collaborating in a new nationwide project analysing the remains of ancient Egyptian animals. Led by researchers at the KNH Centre for Biomedical Egyptology, the Ancient Egyptian Animal Biobank project is aiming to scan, sample […]

Would you like to take a test to see what you’ll be like in the future? Well, if so an Oddy test could be what you’re looking for – although unfortunately it’s not suitable for human testing. An Oddy test is an accelerated aging procedure that we carry out on materials to see how they’ll react over time. It was first introduced by Mr Andrew Oddy in the 1970s and materials are enclosed in a test tube with metal coupons and heated […]

In previous blog posts you’ve had a taster of how we manage conservation at the Museum, but there’s much more to come… But before we get carried away with our fantastic objects and treatments, let’s answer that fundamental question: what is conservation? The National Trust sums up conservation nicely as ‘the careful management of change’. The objects in our collection are often acquired for their historical significance. They tell us a story, and we aim to maintain the condition of […]

Can you imagine taking a jigsaw of over 6000 pieces apart just to move it to another location and put it back together? That’s just the task we’ve been set for one of the Science Museum’s most complex exhibits – James Watt’s Workshop, which is due to open in spring 2011. We acquired his complete workshop in 1924. It includes the doors, window, furniture, stove – pretty much everything but the kitchen sink. It was painstakingly moved in the 1920’s from its Birmingham location to […]

One of the highlights of a visit to Wells Cathedral is seeing the oldest surviving clock face in the world, in the north transept. Above the face, jousting knights on horseback do battle, with one unfortunate being knocked over. Looking on, a figure called Jack Blandifer chimes bells each quarter-hour. Originally the knights charged every hour, but due to tourist demand the display was modified in the 1960s to allow a shorter joust to happen every 15 minutes. The knights […]