We use cookies on our website to make sure you get the most out of your visit. By continuing to view our website without changing your browser settings, we'll assume that you are happy to accept the cookies on our site. Your cookie settings can be changed at any time. Continue

Open seven days a week, 10.00-18.00. Entry to the Museum is free.

The Secret Life of the Home

How well do you know your vacuum cleaner? When did you last spare a thought for your microwave oven? The Secret Life of the Home takes a close look at the development of those household gadgets and appliances that we use every day but often take for granted.

Most of the objects on show date from the late 19th and 20th century but you’ll also find ancient Roman keys, 18th century cooking utensils and a 21st century robotic vacuum cleaner. In fact, you’ll be able to discover how applied robotics is one of the key ways in which the gadgets and appliances in your home will develop in the future.

You’ll also be able to see how styles, materials, technology and changes in society have influenced the design and use of gadgets and appliances over time.

There are loads of interactive exhibits in this gallery, so you’ll be able to discover how some of these appliances – including CD players and washing machines (and toilets!) – really work. You can also investigate different types of locks, try to outwit a burglar alarm and even play ‘Pong’, the world’s very first home video game.

The Secret Life of the Home

A technological guide to the development of the modern home
Floor: B
Open: Permanent
free