Guest post: The new Who Am I?
The Science Museum’s Who Am I? gallery explores the many scientific aspects of identity, such as genetics and neuroscience. The gallery recently reopened having undergone a complete makeover. Holly Cave, Content Developer for Who Am I?, guides us through the attractions.
After months of behind-the-scenes action, the new Who Am I? gallery opened to the public on 26 July, as the Science Museum marked ten years since the first draft of the human genome.
Who Am I? first opened in 2000, blinking into the dawn of a new era of genetics. Tackling the themes of identity, genes and brain science by investigating everyone’s favourite subject – themselves – made it an instant hit. But a decade later, the gallery was in need of updated content and a renewed dynamism. This became possible thanks to funding from the Wellcome Trust, GlaxoSmithKline, and the Life Technologies Foundation.
Our ambitions were to make the space more reflective of the vast diversity of humanity, to explore new ways of engaging people with objects, and showcase the latest scientific developments, making everything more accessible. It’s a fantastic opportunity to be able to redevelop an existing gallery – you know what works for people and what needs pushing to a new level.
Newly commissioned art works shed a different light on the concept of identity. And for the first time, some objects are on open display, for example, fetus models printed in 3D from ultrasound and MRI scans. The museum is visited by many families who find it hard to occupy their youngest ones, so we’ve developed a special trail that will help adults engage their children with key themes.
Among the fun and games, visitors can take a seat and dig deeper into biomedical science in our information kiosks, or reflect on controversial topics.
Our current Live Science investigation – Look out! How safe a road user are you? – will run on weekends until September, with Royal Holloway scientists testing visitors’ visual awareness. Soon, BSL tours and a Family Trail will be on offer. The Updates showcase – where the latest scientific developments will add a changing perspective – currently hosts the work of our groundbreaking youth participation project and their take on sleeping and dreaming.
Visit our website to test your breeding skills in Thingdom, listen to audio descriptions of objects and browse Find out More – an in-depth look at biomedical science.
The Science Museum welcomed 2.8 million visitors in 2009, its Centenary year. I hope the renewed Who Am I? gallery will offer everyone, both physical visitors and online audiences, something life-enhancing and unforgettable – a unique, entertaining insight into what makes them the person they are.