Science Museum Celebrates the art of Climate Change


Science Museum celebrates the Art of Climate Change

New exhibition presents historical objects and art that showcase the human capacity to adapt to our ever-changing environment

Climate Changing Stories is the new exhibition opening at the Science Museum on 27th June with a different story to tell – from nineteenth century inventions that paved the way for today’s new technologies – to contemporary art and film which show us a glimpse of futuristic adaptations.

Combining science and imagination, artwork and artefact, the exhibition will bring together different periods and perspectives to show the range of ingenious ways humans have and will respond to the changing world around them.

The exhibition includes:

A story of five fictional plants from the near future
Artist collective Troika’s Plant Fiction tells the stories of five fictional plants that have been genetically modified to improve the world around us – including a creeper that sprawls across the city sensing airborne viruses and a weed that reclaims gold from disused computer circuits as it grows over landfills. Drawing inspiration from current biotechnology research, Troika play with myth and fiction to create a radical rethinking of our relationship with nature. 

The very human story of resistance to change
A timeline display of light bulbs from 1890 marks the completion of the phasing out of the incandescent light bulb across the European Union at the end of 2012. Our light bulbs may be changing, but there’s a perceptible grumble about the speed and brightness of the new low-carbon bulbs. Rewind to the 1880s and there was a similar reluctance to swap the friendly flicker of the gas lamp for the incandescent electric bulb…

The surprisingly old story of London’s first ever electric taxi
Challenging the common perception of electric cars as a modern invention, the first self-propelled vehicle for hire, the Bersey taxi, actually appeared on the city’s streets in 1897. Now, electric transport is firmly back on the agenda with charging points in London set to double in the next six months and a futuristic ‘driverless electric taxi’ in the offing. Could the car of our great-great-great-grandparents present a solution for greener cities today?

The dizzying heights of modern power
The sheer size of modern day wind turbines is staggering. The public can fully appreciate the enormity of these devices by visiting the 14 metre long wind turbine tip also going on display. Despite its impressive size this tip belonged to a turbine blade that was an astonishing 40 m long. Taking advantage of the three-fold increase in blade length over the past 20 years, older, smaller wind turbines are being replaced with larger and fewer models – raising questions about how to use retired turbines sustainably. 

The story of an uncertain future in Essex
Artists Nina Pope and Karen Guthrie have created a specially commissioned edit of their new documentary “Jaywick Escapes” for Climate Changing Stories. The short film and accompanying installation explores Jaywick’s evolving history.  Once famous as a holiday destination it is now one of the most deprived towns in the UK, facing flood warnings due to rising sea levels amidst painful local memories of the 1953 flood disaster.

Other highlights include designer Thomas Thwaites’ thought-provoking Toaster Project, one of the bright orange Sno-Cat vehicles used by Sir Vivian Fuchs in the perilous 1955–58 crossing of Antarctica, science-fiction-inspired 1936 visions of the future which have become a reality, the march of steel pylons across Britain’s countryside, a camera journey into the atmosphere, and the first recorded look at London’s climate.

Dr. Susan Mossman, Project Leader, said: ‘Climate Changing Stories offers a fresh perspective on our changing climate through the history of invention – showcasing the amazing human capacity to create and adapt in the face of change. The Science Museum collection shows the great feats of science and engineering throughout the ages, alongside possible visions of the future.’  

Climate Changing Storiesis a free trail throughout the museum that forms part of the Science Museum’s three-year Climate Changing programme – a series of thought-provoking events that accompany the Atmosphere …exploring climate science gallery*. The free display will open on 27 June and run for a year until June 2014.

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On 27 June the Science Museum will also open an exhibition about the Climate Science Outreach Project, a three year project designed to engage 13 – 14 year olds using science communication to explore climate issues. The three day exhibition will feature the work of 48 UK schools who were invited to submit a piece of investigative journalism about climate change in their area, uncovering issues from river pollution to community opposition to wind farms.

The touring Outreach exhibition first opens at the National Railway Museum, York on 13th June, before touring to @Bristol between the 20th and 24th June and the Science Museum between the 27th and  30th June where it will be on show on the second floor outside the temporary exhibition space.  The exhibition will finally travel to the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry between the 4th and 9th July.

*The Atmosphere gallery and the Climate Changing programme have been made possible by support from Principal Sponsors Shell and Siemens, Major Sponsor Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Major Funder the Garfield Weston Foundation, and with additional support from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Patrons of the Science Museum and members of the Founders Circle: Climate Changing programme: Accenture, Bayer and Barclays.

A Cockroach Tour for Kids
As part of the exhibition, children dress up in realistic cockroach costumes and take a journey through the exhibition and wider Museum, exploring the impact of scientific and technological developments on the climate, from the perspective of one of our planet’s true survivors, the cockroach. A Cockroach Tour of the Science Museum is a participatory art project by Danish art group, Superflex, which is part of Climate Changing..a thought-provoking series of events, exhibitions and installations. ‘A Cockroach Tour of the Science Museum’ is free, every Saturday and Sunday until 1 September. The tours are FREE but you need to book

Visitor information
Science Museum, Exhibition Road, London, SW7 2DD
Open daily 10.00 to 18.00, except 24-26 December / 0870 870 4868

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