Hyle 12 (2):215 - 239 (2006)

How has chemistry been presented at the Science Museum, London, during the 20th century? After an overview of the history of the Science Museum and its chemistry galleries, four galleries are considered in depth (1906, 1926, 1977, and 1999). The importance of the curators' external constituency of chemists and chemical educators is emphasized. The image of chemistry at the Science Museum has concentrated on the general utility of chemistry and chemistry as a skilful craft. The presentation has been low-key rather than boosterist. A comparison is made with the chemistry galleries at the Deutsches Museum. Chemistry in the Deutsches Museum has put more emphasis on hands-on exhibits and the chemical industry. Science and technology museums have promoted chemistry in a quiet but successful way for many years, but their influence may have waned along with chemistry kits
Keywords Philosophy of Chemistry  presentation of chemistry in museums  chemistry collections  chemistry galleries  Science Museum  Deutsches Museum
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