Spent a rather marvellous day at the Science Museum, no queues to get in (queueing around the block at the Natural History Museum) although there were queues to get into the Google sponsored Web Lab and the Launchpad. We arrived in time to hear some excellent and enthusiastic storytelling on flight and the history of the hot air balloon on the third floor but the storyteller could have done with a staff member to support them directing traffic round him as his audience grew and grew (a task I fell into, as my education officers hat suddenly appeared from retirement). I was with my cousin whom I used to take along as a child, and I was often an accompanying adult on her school trips to the museums back in the eighties. She loved the Launchpad back then and it hasn’t changed so much, the buzz of excited children and young teens testing, trying and tearing about is so loud, you tend to want to hug the wall in shock although the water rocket demonstration managed to draw me out of myself as it shot across the span of the ceiling at lightning speed!
Talking of shock, probably the most memorable exhibit of the day for me, was in the Energy Hall one floor down. Here you will find a massive metal pole very clearly labelled DO NOT TOUCH! – so of course, there were crowds of people (all ages) stood around it as it thunked with electric pulses administering random and non-fatal electric shocks. The energy exhibition pulled some hefty punches about climate change and the image of the childs lunch box which contained a compartment for the child’s pooh (to be taken home for recycling) will stay with me. I’m so glad that some of my favourite exhibits were still there, the planes, the cars, the space suits, the giant lathe and the light-house globe but I’m going to have to come back to acquaint myself with the new stuff.
It cost £80 for three of us to get to London (off-peak) and a suggested donation of a fiver each to get into the museum, we brought our own water but succumbed to a late lunch, after the wonders of the Wellcome Wing left our minds numb with possibility. The eldest had time to pop down the road to the Butterfly Marquee outside the Natural History Museum which she thought was £4.50 well spent (two hundred photos worth). Even if you avoid the eateries there’s still the wonderfully, well stocked shop to get past! Not an inexpensive day but a memorable one – aah, dear old science Museum, you’ve had a face lift, sponsorship and some upgrades but you’re still crazy, after all these years.