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  1. by , , on - Object focus

    A reflection on reconstructing Zygalski sheets, a manual grid-based system used by the Polish Cipher Bureau and Bletchley Park to decrypt German Enigma cipher messages, for the Top Secret exhibition at the Science Museum Group from 2019 to 2022.

  2. by on - Reflections on research

    Calling on the Science Museum’s First World War exhibition Wounded: Conflict, Casualties and Care, this article outlines the challenges of curating a coherent display within such a vast context. It also explores how the narrative and interpretive approaches taken were influenced by an earlier, unrealised proposal – one whose bold concept was reflected in the rewarding and sometimes unexpected qualities that emerged in the final exhibition.

  3. by on - Research

    A close examination of James’ Watt’s workshop, preserved in the Science Museum’s collections since 1924 and redisplayed in 2012, suggests a richer, more nuanced interpretation of his contribution to Britain’s Industrial Enlightenment as both philosopher and practical maker.

  4. by , on - Research

    A 3D chart of electricity demand in Manchester, 1951–54, is a tangible record of past practice, both of the electricity supply industry and its consumers. We offer a close inspection of the object, and generate ideas about the chart’s use and users.

  5. by on - Object focus

    This paper proposes the analogy of ventriloquism as a way of extending the discussion about how objects speak and are used to tell different stories to audiences in museums as ‘material polyglots’. It explores how the Science Museum has changed the voices, stories, and physical and instrumental functions of a particular object – the ‘Trainbox’ version of the Douglas Hartree’s Differential Analyser – since it was collected in 1949.

  6. by , on - Discussion

    This article presents the conceptual design of the recent travelling exhibition energie.wenden (literal translation: ‘turning energy around’). It uses a highly interactive and emotive approach, chosen to engage museum audiences with the pressing topic of energy transition.

  7. by on - Research

    What if sounds were museum objects? Via an experimental curatorial practice, the author proposes a revised definition of the 20th century musical term ‘sound object,’ proposing it as the basis for a museological conception of sounds as heritage.

  8. by on - Discussion

    This paper presents an account of a project that the Museum of Electricity and Life implemented to provide educationally disadvantaged children with opportunities to participate in cultural life and help them to develop new competences. The children accompanied their peer group as travel guides through the history of electricity. In the process they slipped into different roles and imparted their knowledge through short theatrical performances.

  9. by on - Research

    Informed by the ‘SMG Research Conference 2019: The Place of Industry’, this article reflects on the Whitworth’s history; from its founding principles to its new mission and vision to explore the continuing debates surrounding the relationship between art and industry.

  10. by on - Research

    This article analyses the role of technology in shaping nineteenth-century experiences of the medieval past. Using three exhibitions as a lens – the Panstereomachia, Madame Tussaud’s and the Heraldic Exhibition – it explores how exhibitors drew on art and science to offer competing visions of the medieval past. In doing so, it will examine how these exhibitions reflect changing views about medieval history and heritage, raising questions about the relationship between technology and the display of the past.

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