Science Museum Group Journal
The Science Museum Group Journal presents the global research community with peer-reviewed papers relevant to the wide-ranging work of the Science Museum Group. The journal freely shares the research of four national UK museums and warmly invites contributions that resonate with their collections and practice.
07 CURRENT ISSUE Spring 2017 - Sound and Vision
Issue 07 of the Journal collects scholarly articles from research related to sound and vision from across the Group. Several of these focus on sound and visual elements within collections, most of which are in store rather than on display. James Mooney, for example, discusses sound objects in the collection of composer Hugh Davies, while Joanne Gooding looks at a collection of NHS glasses through the lens of design. Melissa Dickson’s article takes a single historical object – the Ammoniaphone – and looks at how contemporary claims for its effectiveness tell us much about Victorian thinking about science and the voice. Many of these articles (and the Sound and Vision theme) came out of the inaugural Research Conference in September 2016. They are in part published now to mark the re-launch of the newly named Science and Media Museum in March. Director Jo Quinton-Tulloch introduces the issue and rightly draws attention to the importance of the Journal in discussing the relationship between museums and institutional practice and culture and society. Several articles address this historically – for example, Jennifer Rich on the history of how the Science Museum has used sound in interpreting exhibits. But the issue also reflects on more recent developments with articles by Elizabeth Edwards, Ben Burbridge and Michael Terwey providing different perspectives on the move to a more STEM-focused approach at the Science and Media Museum in Bradford.
Something in the Air: Dr Carter Moffat’s Ammoniaphone and the Victorian Science of Singing
This essay analyses representations of the ammoniaphone across nineteenth-century advertising and the medical and musical press, and situates these representations within the broader Victorian fascination with the supremacy of Italian opera singers and the emergent corporeal anxieties of late nineteenth-century consumer culture.
‘A Chamber of Noise Horrors’: Sound, Technology and the Museum
This article analyses the 1935 Science Museum exhibition on Noise Abatement in order to draw wider conclusions about technological sound and the museum and to make an argument in favour of hearing museum sound historically.
Phillip Carpenter and the convergence of science and entertainment in the early-nineteenth century instrument trade
For the instrument makers of the early-nineteenth century there was no distinction between scientific and popular instruments. Exploring the case of the optician Phillip Carpenter, this article will address three popular media formats — the 1817 Kaleidoscope, 1821 Phantasmagoria Lantern and 1827 Microcosm.
Contexts for photography collections at the National Media Museum
In 2016 the National Media Museum transferred parts of its photographic collections to the Victoria and Albert Museum. This article examines the reactions to this decision to understand what it can tell us about public perceptions of the role of museums, and places the transfer in the wider contexts of sustainable collecting practices, economic pressures and local circumstances.
Understanding storm surges in the North Sea: Ishiguro’s electronic modelling machine
An introduction to one of the star objects in Mathematics: The Winton Gallery, an electronic storm surge modelling machine.
Problem / science / society
The economic aim of commercialisation of science has drawn attention to particular innovations. Science communicators and the public participate in this process. However, there are technologies that scientists and the public already value, that they could apply to global problems.
Flying Scotsman: modernity, nostalgia and Britain’s ‘cult of the past’
This article explores the rescue and restoration of the world famous steam locomotive Flying Scotsman in 1963 and explores wider questions about what it means to preserve cultural objects and how, if at all, their authenticity can be preserved.