Information age? The challenges of displaying information and communication technologies
On 24 October 2014 the Science Museum opened a major new permanentgallery, Information Age. Five years in the making, the gallery examines the lasttwo hundred years of information and communication technologies, invitingvisitors to take a long view on our ability to generate, share and storeinformation. In creating the gallery we were conscious of a pervasive myth ofour current age: the idea that we are living in a world where our connecteddigital devices have made us faster and more efficient, and that this rapidtransformation of technology has caused a paradigm shift in one positive leapfor humanity. In Information Age we wanted to challenge this idea, inviting ourvisitors to consider their personal experience of change through technology,but to see it in the context of the experience of our predecessors. We wantedvisitors to encounter the novelty of the electric telegraph in the 1840s, tounderstand the ways that the use of new telephone technologies supportedand disrupted existing social structures, and to view ‘new’ computer networkssuch as the World Wide Web as a part of the ‘old’ networks of the telephone andtelegraphy. But such an approach brought with it a number of challenges for amuseum display.
Author affiliationSchool of Museum Studies, University of Leicester
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