A new gallery has opened at the Science Museum that seeks to dispel some of the myths about engineers and encourage people to consider being an inventor as a career.
There is a recognised problem with engineering today in that it’s very hard for a young person to see it in action around them. In the past, machines were big and their actions were visible. They were functional and you could be fascinated by how they function.
Thankfully, machines and tools are now much smaller and more powerful, but how does someone get excited about a small block of plastic with a screen compared to say a mechanical engine?
To address that issue, there’s a new exhibition at the Science Museum that looks at how engineers can and are changing the world around us.
The new gallery replaces the old Engineer Your Future space which closed earlier this year, and is more about trying to tell the story of why a career as an engineer could be interesting.
As such, it’s been filled with personal stories and large photos of engineers looking very different from the classic stereotype of a man in a white coat.
That focus does mean that it’s a bit light on objects, and while some screens provide a bit of interactivity, I personally would have liked to see a bit more of what is missing from modern engineering — the ability to touch mechanical machines. It was fiddling with things, and breaking them, that got me interested as a kid, and that’s the bit that’s so often missing today.
What the exhibition is good at though is taking a few choice developments and showing how the people involved got involved and why their invention matters.
From early accurate clock timers to be put into satellites for GPS to work to robotics to the Covid vaccine — it’s very much about the likely careers that a future engineer could look forward to.
It’s much more an exhibition to motivate a young mind, so you need to spend time reading the many text descriptions to see which sparks someone’s imagination that they could possibly do that themselves.