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Topic: Collecting
Building the Science Museum’s collections
For many of us a museum is a place to visit and see collections of things. Whatever else is on offer, the collections are at the museum’s heart. However, they do not grow by themselves. The objects have to be selected, arranged, labelled and displayed. A disordered clutter is not a museum; nor is a private collection if only its creator can view it. The Science Museum’s collections have grown over the years in response to the cultures it has lived through. This process of growth and change is seldom thought about by a museum’s users, but it has an impact on how we see the museum and interact with it. Here we look behind the scenes to find out how the Science Museum and its staff have met the challenge of preservation and display of our heritage of science and technology.
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Topic section: Collecting to make an exhibition
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Collecting for display is where the roots of the museum’s collections lie and for many years it was possible to show in the museum galleries everything that was acquired  > more

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Many of the objects now on display and in store came from the dispersal of other museums’ collections. In turn other collections transferred to the Science Museum have spawned two new museums  > more

Topic section three: Collecting then and now
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It was not until the 1950s that the concept of collecting for posterity, as distinct from display, began to be part of the Science Museum’s philosophy. The collecting policy is now at the heart of all acquisition. Consider the diversity of the objects acquired starting with those in 2004  > more
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Click her to see objects collected in 2004
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