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The Science Museum, London
The London Science Museum www.sciencemuseum.org.uk featured at Zyra's website www.zyra.org.uk
The Science Museum is an amazing place to visit. Even visitors who go there thinking they weren't really interested in science tend to soon find out that they are in fact interested, amazed, and fascinated by science. The Science Museum is a big place where many of the objects which you know exist in the physical scientific world are there for you to see on exhibition. Often bigger than expected, and sometimes taken apart in detail so you can see how they work. As well as a great many machines ancient and modern exhibited as intriguing artefacts of technology, there are many hands-on working displays where you can have a go! Press the button, turn the handle, and see the earth move from day to night an back again, and see for yourself how it works! Children are fascinated in these have-a-go machines, and you don't need to be a child to try it. Marvelling at the wonders of science has no age limit.
A museum of any sort usually has treasures which are kept and looked after because they're very old and precious, and it's true that at the Science Museum there are some historic relics of a scientific nature, but many of the exhibits aren't old or of any antiquity, but are entirely educational. So, for example, there's a light aircraft which is bolted to the floor, and you can climb into the pilot's seat and see how the tail moves when you move the controls. A large parabolic dish into which you can talk and be heard a considerable distance away at another large parabolic dish. Handles you can turn and see the mechanism moving. Although some people say "Science is an academic subject", the fact is that at the Science Museum you can experience scientific things for yourself and see how it makes sense. At the Science Museum, it's a hands-on exhibition of science.
It is astonishing to see the range and diversity of inventions which humanity has created, and there examples of extraordinary machines which have been built, often expertly restored and put on show for folk to witness. A gas turbine powered car, mechanical computer as per design by Babbage, a Foucault pendulum, early variants of the Space Shuttle, some choice railway locomotives, these are just examples - amazing things which merit such expressions as "you don't see that every day".
The Science Museum is effectively a Theme Park about Science, although it's been there since before the term "Theme Park" was invented. In fact the idea of having a museum of science is quite a clever idea in itself. It is an inspiration to future generations.
When I visited the Science Museum in 2000 I was quite surprised to find that the Science Museum Shop only stayed open during the same hours as the Science Museum, and as I have a keen business sense as well as being interested in science I made a helpful comment on this, because obviously people are going to have a fun day of it trying to explore the Science Museum in a day but finding the place is too big to explore in anything like that time, and then when the museum shuts at 6pm, where will they go? The museum shop, of course! So it would make excellent business sense having the museum shop open for longer, so people inspired by the marvels of the science museum could then go to the museum shop and buy some interesting gadgets.
Good news on this, as the science museum shop is now (2005) open 24 hours, in theory at least, as there is an online shop, which we now link to at THE SCIENCE MUSEUM SHOP! So, as well as being perhaps the ultimate place to buy gadgets being "The Science Museum", it's also possible to make a day of it exploring around the actual museum in London until closing time, and then at home afterwards sort out the acquiring of gadgets from the place, via their online store. As with some intriguing websites, it takes more than a day to explore!
The Science Museum photographic collection is managed by the Science and Society Picture Library