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.
03 CURRENT ISSUE Spring 2015 - Communications
This issue of the Journal collects articles under the theme of ‘communications’. Two articles examine the making of the Science Museum’s permanent new communications gallery – Information Age – looking at experiments in participation and the challenges of display. Historical articles investigate the role of non-users in the development of telecommunications technologies and at the historical antecedents of modern citizen science. Others articles explore communication with audiences through a study of visitor expectations of the role of museums in science policy, and describe an effort to communicate with musicians and listeners from a bygone age of acoustic recording through a unique recording re-enactment.
Old weather: citizen scientists in the 19th and 21st centuries
This article sets current citizen science in historical perspective, looking particularly at the dedicated, democratic band of British Rainfall Observers, coordinated by G. J. Symons in the 19th century, who worked outside official structures but bequeathed to us historical records which are proving invaluable to climate science.
Information age? The challenges of displaying information and communication technologies
This article explores the challenges of displaying the history of information and communications in a museum environment, based on Information Age, the Science Museum’s new permanent gallery.
The Art and Science of Acoustic Recording: Re-enacting Arthur Nikisch and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra’s landmark 1913 recording of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony
In 2014, at the Royal College of Music, an orchestra recorded on to wax discs using a horn and mechanical technology from the acoustic era of sound recording. This article examines the processes, practices and outcomes of the sessions and reflects on the musicians’ experiences.
Made real: artifice and accuracy in nineteenth-century scientific illustration
This essay draws on the Science Museum’s pictorial collections, in particular the excellent holdings of astronomical and meteorological images, in order to look again at the construction of objectivity, this time from the point of view of making and reproducing images.
Curating the collider: using place to engage museum visitors with particle physics
This article explores the use of reconstructed spaces and immersion at the Science Museum’s recent Collider exhibition. It sets out the challenges of engaging museum audiences with cutting-edge particle physics, describes the techniques adopted and evaluates their success.
James Short and John Harrison: personal genius and public knowledge
This is a study of the positive relationship between James Short and John Harrison, set in two eighteenth-century contexts: the notion of individual aptitude or ‘genius’ unspoilt by education or training; and the problem of how individual ability might be captured and formulated as public knowledge.