The BT Information Age Gallery at Science Museum London

BT recently asked us to visit the Information Age Gallery at the Science Museum in London with the kids so that we could look at the exhibition and give our feedback.

Here’s how BT described it:

We are delighted to be the Lead Principal Sponsor of Information Age, the UK’s first permanent gallery to celebrate the history of information and communication technologies – something which BT, the world’s oldest communications company has played a huge role in, with a donation of over 80 objects.

 

This is a remarkable gallery that shows how we use the power of communications to make a better world.

The Science Museum’s Information Age gallery was launched in a blaze of publicity when the Queen sent her first-ever tweet at the opening ceremony.

The Queen's first tweet - Sent from the BT Information Age Gallery at the Science Museum London

The exhibition, which goes by the full name of “Information Age: Six Networks That Changed Our World” is the Museum’s biggest and most ambitious gallery to date.

It features over 800 objects from the Science Museum’s world-class collections, many of which have never been on public display.

It also reveals personal stories about how our lives have been transformed by communication innovations over the last two centuries.

Looking out over our new Information Age #smInfoAge gallery as we wait for the day’s first visitors #ScienceMuseum

A photo posted by Science Museum (@sciencemuseum) on

 

Entry to the Science Museum is free, and after a five-minute walk from South Kensington tube we found ourselves inside the main entrance.

The exhibition isn’t easy to find. The main gallery is located on the second floor of the main museum and has a mezzanine level walkway providing additional viewing angles to the objects.

It’s accessed within the gallery via two lifts with a through-access design and two staircases though we had to ask a couple of times for directions.

There is also an entrance/exit at each end of the gallery, with lifts and stairs allowing access the rest of the Science Museum.

The gallery itself is divided into six parts. Within each zone there is a large double-height room containing an art installation that represents the theme of that zone.

These structures are encased in black with the front façade facing into the centre of the gallery space.

Six touchable objects are positioned in front of these facades to represent a tactile window into each zone. They are accompanied by large print and Braille labels.

In the centre of the room sits the largest object within the gallery, the Aerial Tuning Inductor, which you can see in the Science Museum’s Instagram picture above.

Positioned next to it is a touchable model of the coil, sitting on top of a plinth with accompanying Braille and large print labels.

Science Museum Collage - BT Information Age Gallery

Top left, going clockwise: The Rugby Tuning Coil, The Manual Telephone Exchange from Enfield, a model of the BT Tower and 2LO, the BBCs first radio transmitter - All pictures © Science Museum / © Leon Chew for Universal Design Studio

We spent a good deal of time at the museum, and the kids really enjoyed all of the gallery.

There is also the option to download the InfoAge+ app, an exciting new app, featuring four creative challenges that will help you get more from your visit to the Science Museum’s amazing Information Age gallery.

This is aimed at 11-14-year-olds, but my 9-year-old could play along without too many problems. The app sets them fun tasks to do in the gallery. These are:

  • Top tech: choose an object, create a card and use it to do battle with objects from the gallery.
  • After dark: what if the objects came to life after the Museum closes? Imagine conversations between the objects by filling in the blanks in a comic strip.
  • Newsflash: you need to find a news story in the gallery that will please your demanding editor and create a video report on it.
  • My timeline: put yourself into a 200-year-plus timeline of incredible stories and add your own objects.

BT Information Age collage - Science Museum London

The whole day was an enjoyable trip out which managed to keep all of the kids (aged between 9 and 15) engaged and happy.

I personally was geekily thrilled that the origin NeXT computer used by Sir Tim Berners-Lee to design the World Wide Web was on display, while the kids seemed blissfully unaware of the different types of telephones and telephone exchanges available through the years.

A quick visit to the Science Museum shop and then we were on our way.

The visit also led to a conversation on the way home about the technology that we use today.

Charisma, my 15-year-old, immediately suggested that she couldn’t live without her phone. I must admit that I’m pretty much the same, as I use my phone all day, every day.

Chance, my 9-year-old was the only one who chimed in with something different, declaring that his XBox was something he wouldn’t want to do without.

It’s interesting that we all went for very material possessions rather than anything that is a necessary in life.

The Science Museum is open every day and offers free entry to all.

You can read more about the Science Museum Information Age Gallery here.

You can also see more about the exhibition at the official BT site.

by DannyUK

I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Network Research Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity. I have received a voucher as a token of thanks for this post.

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