Scientific shortsighteness

Angela Morgan considers the effects of recent upheavals at the Science Museum.

Recent upheavals at the Science Museum may herald a change in attitude towards the role of curators and the history of science within the UK. Indeed, the British Society for the History of Science believes that current policies 'can only result in the deterioration of its collections, a decline in Britain's academic reputation, and the diminuation of the public understanding of science'.

It was in September 1993 that the first indications of the changes to come appeared. Proposals were announced for the future direction of the three museums which form the National Museum of Science & Industry; the Science Museum, London; the National Railway Museum, York; and the National Museum of Photography, Film & Television in Bradford. Dr. Neil Cossons, Director of the Science Museum said, 'We plan to restore contemporary science and technology to their rightful position of prominence in this museum by investment in our permanent galleries and presenting innovations – as they happen'.

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