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Museums Week Competition

Autumn, 1996

The Campaign for Museums, which aims to increase public awareness of museums and galleries, this year again co-ordinated a national ‘Museums Week’. It ran from Saturday the 18th May, which was designated as International Museums Day, to Sunday the 26th May. The Museum of the History of Science enthusiastically took part in the week by organizing a ‘Museum Close-Ups’ prize competition.

The competition was aimed primarily at the Museum’s younger visitors and consisted of four close-up pictures of objects from the Museum’s collections with clues to aid in their identification. At the end of Museums Week, entries were drawn from a hat and the first four entrants to have correctly identified the objects and answered questions about them were awarded a copy of the ‘Make-it-Yourself Astrolabe’ kit as the prize.


The objects from which the details, pictured below, were taken were: a late fifteenth-century equatorium; the painting of a dodo and other creatures copied by Louisa Gunther (grandmother of R.T.Gunther, the Museum’s first Curator); the blackboard used by Albert Einstein during the Rhodes Memorial Lecture given on the 16th May 1931; and a French railway telegraph receiver, c.1850.


The first four correct entries drawn out of the hat came from Daniel Roiser of Oxford, Stephen Wykes from Cornwall, Julia Walker of Coventry, and Moira Cockburn from Canada, to all of whom congratulations are due.


In addition to the public competition, the Museum also organized a version for experts. Rather trickier than its public counterpart, this competition was nevertheless completed successfully by a number of keen-eyed ‘Connoisseurs’.