London & South East

The age of information

 Information Age- Science Museum

Set to open in September 2014, the Information Age is the Science Museum’s ground-breaking new communications gallery.

The £15.6m gallery will be the world’s foremost celebration of information and communication technologies when it opens and will include sophisticated interactive displays and engaging participative experiences.

The Information Age gallery will occupy 2500m2 – the largest exhibition space in the Museum – and feature hundreds of unique objects from the Science Museum’s world class collections, many of which have never been seen before. Rare exhibits will include the extremely sensitive instruments which detected the first transatlantic telegraph messages in 1858, the BBC’s first radio transmitter 2LO, and a BESM-6, the only Russian supercomputer in a museum collection in the West.

One of the most spectacular objects on display will be the monumental Rugby Radio Station tuning coil. Donated to the Science Museum by BT, this huge coil was once part of the most powerful radio transmitter in the world.

Divided into six zones (Networks), Information Age will focus on important transformative events within the development of information and communication technologies, from the dramatic stories behind the growth of the worldwide telegraph network in the 19th century, to the influence of mobile phones on our lives today. Visitors will uncover stories about the birth of British broadcasting and learn about pioneering achievements in the development of the telephone.

Further Networks explore the role of satellites in global communications infrastructure and the creation of a new age where information can be found and shared at will through the World Wide Web.

Innovative public participation projects have uncovered unique personal stories that will help shape development of the gallery and bring each of the six Networks to life. Looking back at the development of telephony during the 20th century, Science Museum researchers have worked with women who operated the last manual telephone exchange at Enfield, London, to record oral histories about their experiences. Meanwhile, demonstrating the far reaching impact and diverse usage of mobile communications across the world today, Cameroonian communities in both Cameroon and the UK have taken part in workshops to develop exhibition content.

Ian Blatchford, Director of the Science Museum, said:

Breakthroughs in communication and information technology have dramatically transformed the way we live and connect. Information Age will bring these innovations to life through the eyes of those who invented, operated and were affected by each new wave of technology. This is a landmark project for the Science Museum and we are grateful to all our funders for making it possible.”

Gavin Patterson, CEO BT Retail, Principal Lead Sponsor, said:

BT has a long standing relationship with Science Museum and is proud to be sponsoring Information Age. We are looking forward to engaging our customers and staff further in this exciting project, and celebrating BT’s heritage story and our on-going role in helping to shape the connected world.”

Information Age has been made possible through the generous support of the Heritage Lottery Fund, BT (Principal Lead Sponsor), ARM (Principal Sponsor) and Google (Principal Funder). Major Funders include The Garfield Weston Foundation, The Wolfson Foundation and Motorola Solutions Foundation. Additional support has been provided by Accenture (Connect Circle Sponsor) as well as The Institution of Engineering and Technology and Cambridge Wireless.

As the home of human ingenuity, the Science Museum’s world-class collection forms an enduring record of scientific, technological and medical achievements from across the globe. Welcoming over 3 million visitors a year, the Museum aims to make sense of the science that shapes our lives, inspiring visitors with iconic objects, award-winning exhibitions and incredible stories of scientific achievement.

Information Age opens daily 10.00 to 18.00 from September 2014, except 24-26 December.

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