There is a street with lots of posh buildings, and doormen forbidding entry to the great masses, and an equally grand building with mighty pillars along an imposing facade, which conceals a museum.

A museum that is freely open to the public to visit.

This is the Royal Institution, and the museum is (mostly) in the basement, which is apt as this was also the site of Michael Faraday’s laboratory. Hence, the Faraday Museum.


Heading downstairs, there’s a huge display of the periodic table, which can also play a game where it signs the elements to the tune of the Major General, and you have to press the required element in turn. Much fun for kids, and the two museum staff who played it while I was there.

The main display though is relics from science past, when science was big and often a bit too close to what people thought of as magic. The arrival of electricity, magnetism, flammable gases — all effects without any seeming cause other than strange talismans wrapped with wires and placed in protective glass domes.


A recreation of Faraday’s laboratory, woods and coppers and the dust of ages, in an alcove is mirrored on the opposite side by a modern lab, all shiny plastics, antiseptics and cleanliness.

It’s very much a chance to reacquaint yourself with names from school or Horizon documentaries as each case is laid out with a focus on the works by a number of prominent scientists.


Not a huge museum, but atmospheric and a great reminder of the discoveries that underpin the modern society we live in.

The museum is open from 9am till 6pm Monday to Friday (excluding Bank Holidays). Entry is free.


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  1. EDUARDO SARLO says:

    Where is it located? I plan to visit the laboratory next september.

    • Ian Visits says:

      Click on either of the links in the article for the venue’s website and their visiting information.

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