News Column

Science Museum to launch landmark communications gallery

August 14, 2014

ENP Newswire - 14 August 2014

Release date- 13082014 - This October the Science Museum will launch the first permanent gallery in the UK dedicated to the history of information and communication technologies.

Information Age: Six Networks That Changed Our World will explore the remarkable technological breakthroughs that have transformed how we communicate over the last 200 years. From the first transatlantic telegraph cable that connected Europe and North America in minutes rather than weeks, to the advanced computing power of the modern smartphone, Information Age will look at the huge impact of developments in communication technology on all our lives.

More than 800 unique objects from the Science Museum collections and state-of-the-art interactive displays will bring to life the dramatic personal stories of those whose lives were changed by each new wave of technology. This landmark project for the Museum has been made possible by generous support from funders, including a GBP6.3m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

'As the single largest gallery inside the Science Museum, Information Age is one of our most ambitious projects ever', said Ian Blatchford, Director of the Science Museum. 'Combining our world beating communications and computing collections with the latest digital technology and interactive experiences, this gallery will reinvigorate the heart of the Museum. We are grateful to all our funders for making this important gallery a reality.'

Carole Souter, Chief Executive of HLF, said: 'With the help of Lottery players we've awarded over GBP6m to help the Science Museum create the ground-breaking Information Age gallery. This new space will bring to life the remarkable innovations in technology that have transformed the way we communicate, making it an essential destination for visitors who want to learn more about our rapidly changing world.'

Information Age will explore how our modern connected world was created through six networks, the electric telegraph, the telephone exchange, radio and television broadcasting, satellite communications, computer networks and mobile communications.

Within each network visitors will discover many remarkable objects and stories, including:

Thomson's original galvanometer used to receive the first telegraph messages sent across the Atlantic between President Buchanan and Queen Victoria in 1858

The original Marconi radio transmitter that made the first public broadcast in 1922 with the famous words 'This is 2LO calling' - announcing the arrival of the BBC and the birth of British broadcasting

The intimate oral histories of women who operated our telephone exchanges until the introduction of the automatic dial

Two of the world's fastest supercomputers in the 1960s, the Russian BESM-6 and the American CDC 6600, and how computing became the front line of the Cold War

The development of two generations of satellite communication technology told through the first worldwide TV broadcast starring the Beatles in 1967 and the crucial role of GPS satellites first used to help coalition forces navigate the desert during the first Gulf War

The NeXT cube, the original machine used by Sir Tim Berners-Lee to design the World Wide Web in 1989 and start a new age of instant access to information

'Information Age marks a step change in the way we have worked to uncover the personal stories behind our rich collections. The gallery shows that in the past, as today, innovation didn't just come from a few pioneers, but from the users of technology', said Lead Curator Tilly Blyth. 'We have worked closely with communities in the UK and overseas to identify these fascinating user stories, from the application of mobile technology by entrepreneurs in Cameroon, to private telegrams donated to us by British families.'

The 2500m2 gallery has been designed by award winning consultancy Universal Design Studio. At its centre will sit the spectacular 6-metre high aerial inductance coil from Rugby Radio Station. This enormous and strangely beautiful object resembles a series of giant spiders' webs. It was once part of the most powerful radio transmitter in the world and was donated to the Science Museum by BT.

Gavin Patterson, Chief Executive of BT Group, said: 'BT has long been a supporter of the Science Museum, since our first donation of telegraphy equipment in 1876. We are proud to help the Museum create the UK's first permanent gallery celebrating the history of information and communication technologies and how they transformed our world - an area in which BT has played a huge role.'

Each network will include exciting new on-gallery collaborations with leading artists and thinkers, including Olivier award-winning video and projection designer Finn Ross, artist Matthew Robins, broadcaster Bonnie Greer and computer scientist Sir Tim Berners-Lee. The Science Museum has also commissioned BAFTA award winning artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer to create a unique digital art work for Information Age. Fiducial Voice Beacons is a dynamic light and sound installation that all visitors will be able to interact with and is Lozano-Hemmer's first permanent commission in the UK.

The gallery will open on 25 October 2014. It will be supported by a programme of workshops aimed at family and education groups, as well as specially commissioned drama character shows and events.

Information Age has been made possible through the generous support of the Heritage Lottery Fund, BT (Principal Lead Sponsor), ARM (Principal Sponsor), Bloomberg Philanthropies and Google (Principal Funders). Major Funders include the Garfield Weston Foundation, the Wolfson Foundation, the Bonita Trust and the Motorola Solutions Foundation. Additional support has been provided by Accenture (Connect Circle Sponsor) as well as the Institution of Engineering and Technology, Cambridge Wireless (CW), the David and Claudia Harding Foundation and other individual donors. The Science Museum would also like to thank the BBC for their assistance.

Visitor Information

Information Age opens 25 October 2014


Science Museum, Exhibition Road, London, SW7 2DD

Open daily 10.00 to 18.00, except 24-26 December

@sciencemuseum #smInfoAge


For further information or images please contact the Science Museum Press Office: or phone 020 7942 4328 or phone 020 7942 4364

Notes to Editors:

About the Science Museum

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.

About the Heritage Lottery Fund

Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) sustains and transforms a wide range of heritage for present and future generations to take part in, learn from and enjoy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage. HLF has supported over 36,000 projects, allocating GBP6billion across the UK. Website:

About BT

BT is one of the world's leading providers of communications services and solutions, serving customers in more than 170 countries. Its principal activities include the provision of networked IT services globally; local, national and international telecommunications services to its customers for use at home, at work and on the move; broadband, TV and internet products and services; and converged fixed/mobile products and services. BT consists principally of five lines of business: BT Global Services, BT Business, BT Consumer, BT Wholesale and Openreach.

For the year ended 31 March 2014, BT Group's reported revenue was GBP18,287m with reported profit before taxation of GBP2,312m. In 2013/14 BT invested GBP27.2m (1 per cent profit before tax) in its Better Future programme further embedding responsible and sustainable business practices throughout the company.

British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on stock exchanges in London and New York.

About ARM

ARM is at the heart of the world's most advanced digital products. Our technology enables the creation of new markets and transformation of industries and society. We design scalable, energy efficient-processors and related technologies to deliver the intelligence in applications ranging from sensors to servers, including smartphones, tablets, enterprise infrastructure and the IoT.

Our innovative technology is licensed by ARM Partners who have shipped more than 50 billion Systems on Chip (SoCs) containing our intellectual property since the company began in 1990. Together with our Connected Community, we are breaking down barriers to innovation for developers, designers and engineers, ensuring a fast, reliable route to market for leading electronics companies. Learn more and join the conversation at

About Bloomberg Philanthropies

Bloomberg Philanthropies' mission is to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: Public Health, Environment, Education, Government Innovation and the Arts. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg's charitable activities, including his foundation and his personal giving. In 2013, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $452 million. For more information on the philanthropy, please visit or follow us on Facebook and Twitter @BloombergDotOrg.

About Google Inc.

Google is a global technology leader focused on improving the ways people connect with information. Google's innovations in web search and advertising have made its website a top Internet property and its brand one of the most recognized in the world.

Google is a trademark of Google Inc. All other company and product names may be trademarks of the respective companies with which they are associated.

About the Garfield Weston Foundation

The Garfield Weston Foundation is a family-founded, grant-making trust. Since it was established in 1958 the Foundation has given over GBP780 million to charities across the UK. From small community groups to large national institutions, the Foundation supports a broad range of organisations and activities that make a positive impact in the communities in which they work. Nearly 2,000 charities across the UK benefit each year from the Foundation's grants.

About the Wolfson Foundation

The Wolfson Foundation supports and promotes excellence in the fields of science and medicine, health & disability, education and the arts & humanities. All funding is based on expert peer review. Over GBP1.2 billion in real terms has been awarded in grants to some 10,000 projects over the last 59 years. The Wolfson Foundation's long term funding of the Science Museum reflects the importance that the Foundation places on engagement with science through visitor attractions.

About the Bonita Trust

The Bonita Trust is a philanthropic trust established under Gibraltar law in 2004. For over a decade Bonita's global grant making efforts include leveraging cutting edge technologies to support people and institutions serving them, focusing in health and medical research, education, community services, culture and heritage, female entrepreneurship and disaster relief.

About the Motorola Solutions Foundation

The Motorola Solutions Foundation is the charitable and philanthropic arm of Motorola Solutions. With employees located around the globe, Motorola Solutions seeks to benefit the communities where it operates. The company achieves this by making strategic grants, forging strong community partnerships and fostering innovation. The Motorola Solutions Foundation focuses its funding on public safety, disaster relief, employee programs and education, especially science, technology, engineering and math programming. For more information on Motorola Solutions Corporate and Foundation giving, visit

About Accenture

Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, with more than 293,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries. Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive capabilities across all industries and business functions, and extensive research on the world's most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. The company generated net revenues of US$28.6 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2013. Its home page is

About the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET)

The IET is one of the world's largest engineering institutions with nearly 160,000 members in 27 countries. It is also the most multi-disciplinary - to reflect the increasingly multi-disciplinary nature of engineering in the 21st century. Energy, transport, manufacturing, information and communications, and the built environment: the IET covers them all.

The IET is working to engineer a better world by inspiring, informing and influencing our members, engineers and technicians, and all those who are touched by, or touch, the work of engineers. We want to build the profile of engineering and change outdated perceptions about engineering in order to tackle the skills gap. This includes encouraging more women to become engineers and growing the number of engineering apprentices.

About Cambridge Wireless (CW)

CW is the leading international community for companies involved in the research, development and application of wireless & mobile, internet, semiconductor and software technologies. With 400 members from major network operators and device manufacturers to innovative start-ups and universities, CW stimulates debate and collaboration, harnesses and shares knowledge, and helps to build connections between academia and industry.

CW's 20 Special Interest Groups (SIGs) provide its members with a dynamic forum where they can network with their peers track the latest technology trends and business developments and position their organisations in key market sectors. CW also organises the annual Future of Wireless International Conference and Discovering Start-ups competition along with other high-quality industry networking events and dinners. With headquarters at the heart of Cambridge, UK, CW partners with other international industry clusters and organisations to extend its reach and remain at the forefront of global developments and business opportunities. For more information, please visit

About The David and Claudia Harding Foundation

David Harding founded Winton Capital Management in 1997 as a research-based company which uses empirical scientific methods to analyse financial data and develop trading systems. Reflecting that core approach the company has always been committed to supporting and encouraging scientific education and research. Over the past eight years David [Harding], Winton and their two associated charities (the David and Claudia Harding Foundation and the Winton Charitable Foundation) have made substantial donations to help fund scientific and academic endeavours in medical research, big data, physics, the public understanding of risk, economic history and statistics education as well as sponsoring exhibitions, prizes and lectures intended to bring science to a wider audience.

About the BBC

The BBC is the world's leading public service broadcaster. Its mission is to enrich people's lives with programmes that inform, educate and entertain. It provides services including 10 national TV channels plus regional programming, 10 national radio stations, 40 local radio stations and an extensive website. The BBC World Service broadcasts to the world on radio, on TV and online, providing news and information in 27 languages and world service English language. The BBC's home page is:

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Source: ENP Newswire

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