Sunday, 9 September 2012

In the archives of the Science Museum...

One of the things I love about being a designer is the strange places and worlds your ideas can take you. Recently I was lucky enough to be able to access the Science Museum archives as I had been researching a particular idea for my upcoming exhibition at The Lighthouse.  It turns out that the Science Museum has a whole room dedicated to meteorological equipment dating back to at least the 1800s which was perfect for my line of enquiry....

I am quite a lover and collector of old things, as I know are many people. I love looking at objects from a previous decade or era and thinking about how they would have been used and the story behind each piece. So to be able to go into the archives at the Science Museum  and see beautiful objects from their collection was a bit of a dream come true. As soon as you step off the street in the west end of London and enter the beautiful old building that houses the majority of their smaller pieces, you feel like you've stepped back in time. The building itself used to be the Post Office Savings Bank and it has corridors and staircases that make you think you've walked onto a film set - in fact, the lovely staff member that assisted my visit said the place is often hired by film companies to shoot scenes (it turns out I missed a hollywood legend by a day!).

As we walked down beautiful corridors, turning on lights as we went, it felt like a real privilege to be somewhere so special. As we walked into the room I wanted to access, I was immediately hit by the smell of old stuff. Putting on latex gloves, I was then given free reign to touch and photograph the objects I had requested. The bonus of the trip was that I could also look amongst the shelves at all the other objects and pull out things I hadn't requested, but appealed to me, which was a welcome surprise.

Twelve months ago I had limited knowledge about weather related things, but now I feel like I am becoming a bit of a weather geek. This is one of the reasons I love what I do, the weird knowledge you accrue is sometimes bizarre but it's also funny to think about how excited you can get over a Vertical Gustiness Meter from 1882.

Vertical Gustiness Meter

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