The History of Technology in 5 Museums

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic"

By Google Arts & Culture

Pendulum by Léon Foucault (1851) by Léon Foucault, ParisDeutsches Museum

In tech museums the world over, the razor-sharp cutting-edge of human ingenuity through history is housed and celebrated. Scroll on, and click-and-drag the Street View panels, to tour some of the best...

Musée des arts et métiers, Paris

The Museum of Arts and Industry in Paris is perhaps the world's oldest. It was founded in the white-heat of the French Revolution of 1794 as a repository for the preservation of scientific instruments and inventions.

It's home, the former priory of Saint-Martin-des-Champs, Amongst its collection is an original version of the Foucault pendulum, and the original model of Liberty Enlightening the World, better known around the world as the Statue of Liberty.

Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester

No city in England is better associated with craft and industry than Manchester, home of the Industrial Revolution. It was amongst the smoke-choked cotton mills and brick terraces that mass production techniques were developed.

Invention didn't stop there, Manchester also saw Ernest Rutherford's splitting of the atom, the invention of the first electronic programmable computer, and most recently, the development of Graphene - a material poised to revolutionise the world.

Deutsches Museum, Munich

The world's largest industrial museum is found in Munich. The Deutsches Museum exhibits around 28,000 from 50 fields of science and technology. It was founded in 1903 to promote the study of industry and technology, and to demonstrate their values and aesthetics to the nation.

The collection is so vast that the museum has had to continually expand. It now includes exhibition spaces at the Deutsches Museum Bonn and the Schleißheim Aviation Museum at Oberschleißheim. Make sure to set aside a day or two when you visit.

Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, Chantilly

Where to begin? The Udvar-Hazy Center in Virginia, USA, holds the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum's expanded collection. Try and find the Space Shuttle Discovery, the Enola Gay, and the Gemini 7 space capsule, and keep an eye out for Concorde.

The Center also houses the Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hangar, open to the public, and the Donald D. Engen Observation Tower, from which enthusiasts can watch the workings of the nearby Washington Dulles International Airport.

Miraikan, Tokyo

Following its defeat in the Second World War, Japan pursued an economic programme of excellence in science and high technology. The Miraikan National Museum of Emerging Science & Innovation celebrates this recent history, and points towards the future.

Looks familiar… In addition to exhibitions that provide people with a chance to enjoy hands-on contact with science and technology, Miraikan's offers programmes of classes and talks to introduce technology to everyone, from tinkerers to hackers.

Launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis STS-132 (2010-05-14)NASA

Want to continue pushing those tech frontiers? Explore a Space Shuttle Discovery in a 360-degree video

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The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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