Science and Industry Museums Online

The Electronic Library

ISSN: 0264-0473

Article publication date: 1 October 2004



(2004), "Science and Industry Museums Online", The Electronic Library, Vol. 22 No. 5.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Science and Industry Museums Online

Science and Industry Museums Online

For the first time, people from across the world will be able to see over 30,000 objects from the collections of the Science Museum, National Museum of Photography, Film & Television and National Railway Museum, through two rich online resources, and

Until now, visitors could only see a tiny proportion of these museums’ vast collections – over 300,000 objects in total – at any one time. Through the digitization and collation of key objects, images and records, these new sites will provide a unique window into the three museums – which together form the National Museum of Science & Industry (NMSI). Virtual visitors now have an unprecedented insight into the stories behind objects from rockets to radios, locomotives to lasers, cameras to computers, made possible through exploiting the versatility of the Web to explore the wide-ranging collections.

These inventive Web resources have been created through funding from the lottery’s New Opportunities Fund ( and the Invest to Save Budget fund ( is a collaboration with digital education publisher mwr and Peter Symonds College in Winchester. will be home to over 30,000 images offering a fascinating insight into science and contemporary culture, as well as exploring the many feats of human ingenuity that shape our lives – through images, stories, opinion pieces and online debates. It provides thought-provoking connections between people, innovations and ideas inspired by the collections of the Science Museum, the National Museum of Photography, Film & Television and the National Railway Museum.

An authoritative illustrated online catalogue of scientific innovation and cultural perspective, includes thousands of images of objects from flying helmets to satellites. Its “Read and debate” areas help browsers explore issues from GM foods to timekeeping, posing questions such as “Should the state pay to make ugly people beautiful?”. (based on the Science Museum’s landmark gallery Making the Modern World) gives visitors a new way to explore the icons of invention. Using animation, dramatic reconstructions and technical explanations it encourages browsers to find out more about the social implications of historical advances in science and technology. Focusing on over 100 iconic objects, from Stephenson’s locomotive Rocket to the Apollo 10 moon craft, presents teachers and students with 72 learning modules to complement the A level curriculum as well as offering deeper understanding to all interested browsers.

Lindsay Sharp, Director of NMSI, comments: “Through and we are offering millions of virtual visitors the chance to see thousands of iconic objects that will help improve the understanding of the contribution of science, technology and invention to the material world around us and how they have changed our lives. As you’d expect from one of the world’s leading science museums we’ve exploited the potential of new technology to make sure the experience for visitors is rich and exciting.”

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