Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI)

Searching around Deansgate in the rain for an interesting place to get lunch and an espresso resulted in a short trip to the Museum of Science and Industry. The building, situated away from the main road so that it has plenty of room to breathe, is beautiful inside and out, making bold use of display screen technology in the “Revolutionary Manchester” gallery that introduces you to the museum’s themes.

Instead of using old-fashioned wooden and cardboard plinths to explain what the exhibits are all about, the museum incorporates (in places) iPads into its displays. Amusing little games can be played at the same time as you discover the history of science and technology via touch-screen interfaces. Even mid-morning and in not so great weather, people of all ages and nationalities wandered around, looking (as if almost to their own surprise) very much impressed. There were examples of early computers (including one recreated by Manchester University’s School of Computer Science) and a Ferranti Mark I logic door. There were also displays on the CERN reactor and nuclear energy.

Proof that people were taking things seriously came from the middle-aged foreign lady explaining eagerly to her friend who Ada Lovelace was: the theme here being women’s contributions to computing science. Apparently half of Ferranti’s programmers were, in 1951, women – chosen for their accuracy and reliability. I wonder by how much that percentage has changed today?

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For the more “old school” museum (and of course aviation) fans out there – and for me, a little reminder of Glasgow’s Transport Museum in the days before it became the Riverside Museum – the Air and Space Hall is really worth a look too. Chock full of planes and one or two motorbikes (air and space?) it’s basically a big shed with a viewing walkway snaking around it from above. Exhibits include a Roe Triplane from 1903 and the Yokosuka MXY7 Ohka Mark II plane for the Kamikaze pilots of WWII. You may know that one by its far more romantic sounding translated name: “Cherry Blossom“. Lovely!

Anyway, there are 5 buildings and 12 whole halls with various themes to explore and today I only had time for a few. Not sure yet if I want to “take a walk through a Victorian sewer” as part of the Underground Manchester theme. But the next visit will definitely take in the Communications (“Connecting Manchester”) Gallery as well as the Power Hall for sure. Watch out for some pictures of retro telephones and cameras! Other pictures in (my) gallery above are of “The Avenue”, a fancy shopping centre (sorry, “luxury shopping quarter“).

Just don’t climb on the letters!

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6 responses to “Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI)”

  1. Jemster says :

    The museum looks brilliant! I know a couple of people who would have loved the bikes and planes, don’t you? 😉 It looks a great mix of contemporary and old fashioned – just the right balance. Hope you get time to see the rest soon. And the ipads sound like a genius idea. I can’t believe anyone would want to tour a Victorian sewer though! Surely you’re having us on? x

    • musingfrommanchester says :

      Start following those hyperlinks, Jemster! It’s all 100 % true! Don’t worry though: it’s just the museum visitors that are in the sewers, not anything else. 😀 Yeah: the museum was really impressive. Think I also know someone who’d like it. LOL.

  2. Jemster says :

    Soz! I didn’t spot the Underground Manchester hyperlink. Have just clicked it and had a look. I’m glad to hear they’ve not made the experience TOO realistic. I was imagining them handing out gas masks and goggles to you on the way in. Lol. The Roe Triplane looks amazing btw – I just read about it on Wikipedia – can’t believe that there was a plane that used a motorbike engine! You learn something new every day. Will you be heading back soon to see the rest of the halls/buildings?

  3. Jemster says :

    Spoilsport!

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  1. Room for Research « musingfrommanchester - October 5, 2011

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