It had been years since I last visited the Science Museum in London. The space is clean and fresh and modern. Unlike other free museums in the capital you need to go through past a desk. This is to guilt you into giving a voluntary donation but I just politely asked if this was were I brought tickets for Cosmonauts and was on my way. Other institutes leave donation boxes but the whole experience of hard sell donation that science museum have even when buying an art fund ticket to see the exhibition I found a bit much and will put me off coming again.
As mentioned above Cosmonauts tickets can come with Art fund discount but there are 2 levels £6.50 or £7 for a voluntary 50P donation. That was in my case added automatically – its 50p I was not going to kick up a fuss but it is the principle. Again this money grabbing culture has put me off the science museum.
This exhibition does have an audio guide and I highly recommended it. Narrated by Helen Sharman a British female cosmonaut we look through the history of space travel from the Russian perspective many of the exhibited items never shown in Russia let alone the rest of the world. The exhibition highlighted how the space race was more than science it was political and part of the post war cold war rivalry with the US.
My favourite part was the early space dogs and their little suits and crafts. I was delighted to hear that they made it back to earth and one even had puppies and one of the puppies were given to Jackie Kennedy the first lady of the USA.
I also loved the fact the there was a heavy female angle on the history something that can be missing from history and science.
Of course the more important parts of living in space was also explored. The toilet system was fascinating….. and did you know that the Russians disliked the showers and now prefer to use wet wipes to clean themselves with. Even things like how the cosmonauts sleep in space were absolutely fascinating.
Fascinating exhibition, excellent and clear audio guide. Well worth a visit.
The rest of the museum was sparce but what was on show was well labelled. Parts were under construction for a new exhibition and was there for all to see. I can understand why it was a walk way to another part of the museum but I felt it was messy and unprofessional.
Unfortunately I encountered more rude staff photographing an exhibition that was about to open – I was yelled at as I nearly walked in front of a camera, politeness to visitors would be a common curtsey especially if you want to get money out of them. This was then followed by curator being rude about me within ear shot. Needless to say that I will not be coming back and this has been put in a blog. The moral of the story is you never know who may be a blogger.
You will not be lost for places to eat or drink either in fact there were more cafe area it seemed than exhibition spaces
If you can avoid the rest of the museum and staff then do go and see Cosmonauts – it is definitely a first class exhibition.
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