Science Museum unveils details of its landmark communications gallery Information Age

18/04/2013

With the support of:

The Heritage Lottery Fund

Principal Lead Sponsor: BT
Principal Sponsor:  ARM
Principal Funder:  Google

The Science Museum today announced further details of its ground-breaking new communications gallery, Information Age, which opens in September 2014.

The £15.6m gallery will be the world’s foremost celebration of information and communication technologies. Sophisticated interactive displays and engaging participative experiences will reveal personal stories about how our lives have been transformed by communication innovations over the last 200 years.
 
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.


Visitor Information
Information Age opens September 2014
FREE
Science Museum, Exhibition Road, London, SW7 2DD
Open daily 10.00 to 18.00, except 24-26 December
www.sciencemuseum.org.uk / 0870 870 4868
@sciencemuseum #smInfoAge

Ends

For further information or images please contact Julia Murray, Science Museum Press Office, on Julia.murray@sciencemuseum.ac.uk or phone 020 7942 4328



 

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 30,000 projects, allocating £4.7billion across the UK. Website: www.hlf.org.uk

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 and internet products and services and converged fixed/mobile products and services. BT consists principally of four lines of business: BT Global Services, BT Retail, BT Wholesale and Openreach. In the year ended 31 March 2012, BT Group’s revenue was £18,897m with profit before taxation of £2,445m.
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. For more information, visit www.btplc.com


About ARM
ARM designs the technology that is at the heart of advanced digital products, from wireless, networking and consumer entertainment solutions to imaging, automotive, security and storage devices. ARM’s comprehensive product offering includes RISC microprocessors, graphics processors, video engines, enabling software, cell libraries, embedded memories, high-speed connectivity products, peripherals and development tools. Combined with comprehensive design services, training, support and maintenance, and the company’s broad Partner community, they provide a total system solution that offers a fast, reliable path to market for leading electronics companies. http://www.arm.com

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.

About Accenture
Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, with approximately 261,000 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$27.9 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2012. Its home page is www.accenture.com.

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 £715 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. www.garfieldweston.org

About the Wolfson Foundation
The Wolfson Foundation supports and promotes excellence in the fields of science and medicine, health, education and the arts & humanities. All funding is based on expert peer review. Over £1 billion in real terms has been awarded in grants to some 8500 projects over the last 57 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. www.wolfson.org.uk

About 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 www.motorolasolutions.com/giving.

About the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET)
The IET is a world leading professional organisation sharing and advancing knowledge to promote science, engineering and technology across the globe. The Professional Home for Life® for engineers and technicians and a trusted source of Essential Engineering Intelligence®, the IET has more than 150,000 members in 127 countries and our members are role models for the next generation of scientists, engineers and technicians. www.theiet.org

About Cambridge Wireless
Cambridge Wireless is a leading industry forum and vibrant community with a rapidly expanding network of companies actively involved in the development and application of wireless technologies. In addition to high level networking dinners, educational events and business development activities, Cambridge Wireless runs an annual Future of Wireless International Conference along with the Discovering Start-Ups initiative to support emerging, innovative wireless companies. Over 15 Special Interest Groups focused on specific technologies and market sectors, also provide opportunities for members to meet, form partnerships to exploit new commercial opportunities, and share knowledge and information about the latest industry trends and hot topics. Cambridge Wireless has partnerships with other leading industry clusters and organisations around the world to extend its international reach and to keep members up to date with the latest global developments and business opportunities. For more information please visit: www.cambridgewireless.co.uk.