London is one of the most expensive cities in the world, but one thing that does compensate that is that you are able to visit some of the greatest museums in the world absolutely free. One of those free to visit museums is the Science Museum.
Aside being free, the Science Museum has a lot to offer when it comes to computer science. I did not know what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised about the collection exhibited at the museum.
When entering the museum I was first confronted with a number of large industrial age machines, relics from Britain’s golden age. The cards below each object provide an understandable summary of what’s on display.
After having sniffed the industrial age you are able to enter the museum’s space section. In my view this is the museum’s most impressive section, exhibiting actual replica’s of the Apollo 11 moon lander, a wide range of rockets and the spectacular Hubble Space Telescope.
The only downside to the space section is that it’s rather dark. This makes the summary cards below the items not very convenient to read. However, it does add to the feeling you are entering a more space-like environment.
Beyond the space section you are able to observe a wide range of inventions that have shaped our modern world. What stood out to me the most were some of the first computers that were on display here, some of which I had only seen in books prior to my visit. One such computer was the Cray 1, one of the first supercomputers developed by Cray Research in 1976, an image of which you can see above.
I initially thought there were not a whole lot of computers on display, but after going a few stairs up I discovered there was a whole area specifically dedicated to the rise of the computer and the internet, even showing a replica of Google’s first server and an entire section dedicated to the rise of the world wide web and everyone who is anyone in computer history.
The Science Museum in London is a must see location for everyone interested in space, technology, scientific discovery and history in general. It shows that seeing images in a book or on your smartphone is one thing, but to see the actual objects in front of you is a totally different experience. It gives a true sense of the scale and ingenuity that came with the creation of the scientific devices we know and love, leaving me truly inspired.
The first time I visited the museum it was rather peaceful, during a week day, while when I went during the weekend it was extremely crowded. I would therefore advise to visit the museum during week days, when you won’t be overrun by the crowd.
Aside that, since there is so much to see you will not be able to see everything in one day. On my first visit I was only able to see everything downstairs and one story up. During my second visit I wanted to see some of the things I saw before again and was only able to visit another two levels up. I do believe that I was able to see roughly 80 percent of what was on display during the end of my last visit (it also helps if you are with someone that wants to spend more than three hours in a museum in stead of being with someone that wants to leave after an hour or so).
- Science Museum London verdict
“The Science Museum in London is a must see location for everyone interested in space, technology, scientific discovery and history in general.”