Science Museum in London Travel Infos
Science Museum in London Travel Infos where the Science Museum’s world-class collection forms an enduring record of scientific and technological achievements from across the globe. See both the Apollo 10 command capsule and Stephenson’s Rocket up close while exploring a range of interactive galleries.
Below is a timeline of key events in our history. For further information about the museum’s early years and development, download A Brief History of the Science Museum.
Exhibition Road 1863
Entrance to the Patent Museum, 1863.
1857—South Kensington Museum (SKM) opens on the site of what is now the Victoria and Albert Museum. Premises also host The Patent Office Museum, a collection of contemporary and historical machinery.
1862—Science collections move to separate buildings on Exhibition Road.
1883—Contents of Patent Office Museum, including Puffing Billy and Stephenson’s Rocket, formally transferred to SKM.
1880s—Science library established.
1893—Science Collections director appointed.
1909—SKM’s art collections renamed ‘The Victoria and Albert Museum’. Science and Engineering Collections separated administratively and the name ‘Science Museum’ officially adopted.
1913—Work begins on the East Block in 1913 but, owing to the First World War, isn’t fully completed until 1928.
1931—‘Children’s Gallery’ opens in December 1931, indicating an organisational shift in placing needs of the ‘ordinary visitor’ ahead of those of specialists.
1949—Buildings from 1862 demolished to construct ground floor of the Centre Block, in order to house Science Exhibition of the Festival of Britain 1951. Centre Block galleries progressively open from top floor downwards between 1963 and 1969.
1986—Original Launch Pad opens.
1975—National Railway Museum opens in York.
1983—National Museum of Photography (now the National Science and Media Museum) opens in Bradford.
1979—Wroughton airfield, near Swindon, acquired both for storage and for collections of larger full-size objects (such as aeroplanes).
1984—The phrase ‘National Museum of Science and Industry’ adopted as corporate name of the entire institution. Management devolved from direct Civil Service control to administration by a Board of Trustees.
2000—Wellcome Wing opened by HM The Queen.
The Science Museum’s world-class collection forms an enduring record of scientific, technological and medical advancement from across the globe. The Science Museum is a major museum on Exhibition Road in South Kensington, London. It was founded in 1857 and today is one of the city’s major tourist attractions, attracting 3.3 million visitors annually.
The Science Museum now holds a collection of over 300,000 items, including such famous items as Stephenson’s Rocket, Puffing Billy (the oldest surviving steam locomotive), the first jet engine, a reconstruction of Francis Crick and James Watson’s model of DNA, some of the earliest remaining steam engines (Including an example of a Newcomen steam engine, the world’s first steam engine), a working example of Charles Babbage’s Difference engine, the first prototype of the 10,000-year Clock of the Long Now, and documentation of the first typewriter. It also contains hundreds of interactive exhibits.