When I were a lad (a long time ago) I went to the science museum (with my mother? father? both? I forget…) and remember the wonderful gallery of models of steam engine valve gear, models of old engines (some original models by the actual engineers made as demos before the full-sized ones were built), many of which you could turn and watch the bits move. A few years back I started taking my son there, and to my surprise and delight I found that the same old models were still there, the same as ever (or at least much the same as my fading memories).
But yesterday we went to the science museum for the first time in maybe a year. Last time they were in the middle of refurbishing the “hall of power” which had these, and other wonderful exhibits about the age of steam. They’ve finished now, and my verdict is a definite thumbs down: out has gone good decent science stuff and in has come tat and junk.
The gallery of models seems to be gone; only a few scattered ones remain. In its place seems to be mostly an Ottakars bookshop – gadzooks, what a waste. High above is a large vertical ring, very large, very eye-catching, lined with led’s inside, and it pretends to fire little loops of light round the ring. Its probably art, but it doesn’t even pretend to have anything to do with science (much like just about everything in the Wellcome wing, which is a giant waste of space). There are still various steam engines about, and the giant red mill engine is still there, but the triple-cylinder marine engine is gone, I think.
Mind you, upstairs isn’t too bad – the “history of computing” is fun.