Science Museum opens new Research Centre and Library

The Science Museum formally launches its new Dana Research Centre and Library on 31st March at its inaugural conference celebrating the Museum's research community.

31 Mar 2016

undefinedDana Research Centre & Library
Photo: Copyright Science Museum

The beautifully designed Centre provides a world-class setting for academic research as well as access to the Museum’s unparalleled library and archive holdings.

The new Dana Research Centre and Library was designed by RIBA award-winning practice Coffey Architects and provides a space bathed in dappled light that recalls being under a canopy of trees. The Centre is open to all, to the public as well as to university-based and independent scholars, and to special interest and enthusiasts’ groups. It also houses the Museum’s thriving Research and Public History Department, with its Research Fellows and Associates, students and staff on research secondments.

By increasing access to the Museum’s unique collection, the new Centre will encourage greater use and understanding of them by academics and lay researchers, in its welcoming, contemporary and light-filled reading room containing some 6,000 books (with access to the out-housed collection available by pre-ordering).

undefinedDana Research Centre & Library
Photo: Copyright Science Museum

The collection and archives

Visitors to the new Dana Research Centre and Library will have access to a core collection of heavily-used academic and popular books and journals for the history, biography and social aspects of physical science, technology and medicine.

With over 500,000 items, the collection includes archives and original works from Newton to Babbage to Einstein – to name a few:

  • Charles Babbage’s notes and drawings on calculating engines
  • Apollo 11 Flight Plan signed by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin
  • A collection of 4,600 rare books and 85 periodicals published before 1800, and rare later works
  • 1,278 publications from exhibitions held throughout the world including the Great Exhibition of 1851
  • Over 85,000 books and periodicals focusing on the history and social aspects of science, technology and medicine

A new digital library management system will give visitors access to the library and archive catalogues, the library’s e-books, e-journals, databases and web pages as well as to the Museum’s collections and image databases and other valuable resources including the digitised Babbage archive.