Snap Happy

March 21, 2017

We’ve been busy taking new head shots for the KCA team recently- have a look at them on Our People page- and they’ve inspired us to take more photos of our lovely team:

Here are the KCA women who were in the office on International Women’s Day on March 8th.

Rupert, Ant, Leila, Cat and Emma and something on Leila’s laptop…

And finally, the ever lovely Emma!

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Mishkat Director joins NAMES Board

March 10, 2017

Mishkat’s Executive Director, Abdulaziz AlHegelan, is the newest Member of the NAMES Board of Directors.

Abdulaziz has worked for Mishkat four years and joined the team after completing his degree in Industrial Engineering. He was appointed Executive Director at the end of last year.

Mishkat is an active member of NAMES, the network for North African and Middle Eastern Science Museums and Centres. In October last year several Mishkat team members spoke at the biennial NAMES conference- read more about it here.

Congratulations on your appointment Abdulaziz, we look forward to seeing the continuing development of the relationship between the NAMES network, Mishkat and engaging science education in Saudi Arabia!

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Extended Opening for ‘How Do We Look?’

March 3, 2017

We worked with the Francis Crick Institute to design their first public exhibition, ‘How Do We Look?’. The exhibition explores the world of biomedical imaging and the Crick scientists behind the images.

The exhibition has been extended until Wednesday 29th March- so if you haven’t been to see how the Crick or our exhibition are looking, you’ve got an extra few weeks to head over to King’s Cross!

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Saving Joule

February 16, 2017

Back in April 2015 the Saving Joule film was launched at Mishkat, Riyadh’s interactive science centre. The film charts the adventure of Joule, a cheeky robot whose spaceship runs out of fuel and has to crash land on a distant planet. There Joule meets Etta, a friendly alien, who helps Joule find alternative sources of energy.

 

Almost two years later, Saving Joule has been transformed into a game available through a free app. The game encourages users to help Joule fly through space and save energy, finding alternative energy solutions on the way.

The app is available for free download on iOS and Android.

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See the Stars at Esplora

February 6, 2017

Esplora, Malta’s first science centre, opened in October last year. We’ve been involved in the project since 2013 and are always excited to hear about how the centre is developing.

Last week the centre’s Planetarium was inaugurated. Built into the Esplora’s walls, the 11m wide globe is visible from outside of the centre and gives it iconicity on the island.

The Planetarium is hosting a programme for visitors of all ages keen to learn about the earth, sun, moon and solar system. The programme initially features four shows about our universe and will expand to include live science shows as the centre matures.

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Environmental Art-ivism

January 26, 2017

This weekend London’s Somerset House is hosting ‘Space to Breathe’, a 2 days of installations, performances, talks and workshops highlighting London’s air pollution crisis. Space to Breathe aims to encourage us to think about what collective action we can take to make our cities less congested, cleaner and more energy efficient.

Just this week London’s Mayor, Sadiq Khan, issued a ‘very high’ air pollution alert for the first time. ‘Very high’ is the highest of 10 pollution bands, and the issuing of this alert is set to become more frequent with areas of Central London regularly breaching legally recognised health limits for air pollution.

Mary Poppins in air pollution mask flies over Westminster to highlight air pollution in the UK. The UK broke 2017’s annual air pollution limits only 5 days into the year (3 days earlier than last year).

‘Space to Breathe’ includes an installation by the sound artist Wesley Goatley inspired by data from the Environmental Research Group in London. The notes struck in the installation rise and fall in volume with the pollution levels recorded, providing a tangible way of expressing a large volume of data collected over the past 6 months.

Another event sees the artist Chih Chiu take groups of visitors wearing his artwork out onto some of the most polluted streets in London, challenging onlookers to think about the quality of the air they are breathing. Elsewhere, the King’s College Environmental Research Group will be running drop-in workshops, encouraging people to find out their lung capacity, how to avoid pollution as best as possible, learn about the research which is tackling London’s air pollution crisis, and crucially how they can get involved.

Voyage on the Planet, Chih Chiu

Other events include a Utopian VR experience, a pair of 3D printed lungs, Greenpeace’s suspended Mary Poppins and Solar Sound System- demonstrating the power of disco ( and featuring a free DJ set by Jarvis Cocker).

Find out more about the weekend via the Somerset House website, and read the Guardian’s article on the event.

Solar Sound System

 

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This week: A trip to the Science Museum

January 20, 2017

This week we’ve been thinking about show spaces and popped over to the Science Museum to look at theirs. Inside the new Wonderlab interactive gallery is a show space, the design of which is inspired by the Royal Institution’s renowned Faraday Theatre.

After we’d checked out the show space we carried on ‘working’, exploring the rest of the gallery and its exhibits, and seeing the wonderful Explainers in action.

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Museums Triumphing Twitter

January 13, 2017

It’s 2017 and there can’t be many museums visit Twitter accounts.

In a world full of National Days of varying significance, Twitter can be a really great way for institutions to participate in trending topics, reach out to audiences who might not already be engaging with them, and even share images of their collections.

A quick Google search revealed that today, Friday January 13th 2017, is National Peach Melba Day, National Rubber Ducky Day and National Blame Someone Else Day- a day celebrated on the first Friday the 13th of the year.

The superstitious origins of the unluckiness of Friday 13th are unclear, but with #Friday13th trending on Twitter,  South East London’s Horniman Museum used it as an opportunity to share images of charms from their collection:


The Horniman Museum are a family friendly museum with very strong community ties, an identity which is carried into their Twitter account. At Halloween they shared an image of their famously overstuffed Walrus (who  has his own Twitter account)


Other institutions also use the social media platform to offer humorous contributions to current affairs. The Grant Museum is a zoological museum  which provided their own tube (worm) status update when the London tube service was on strike earlier this week…


The Wellcome Collection also capitalised on this week’s news stories and shared this, much to Twitter users’ delight


And to end this selection of museum/visitor attraction accounts being excellent on Twitter, this very cute picture of howler monkeys sheltering from the elements was shared by the San Francisco Zoo when the city was hit by a storm.

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Farewell to Dippy

January 4, 2017

For the past 112 years, Dippy the diplodocus has lived inside the Natural History Museum, London. Dippy has been the first sight to greet visitors as they walk into the Museum’s entrance hall since 1979, but the 4th January 2017 is the last day it will be on display inside the building.

Dippy was found in 1898 by railroad workers in Wyoming. Scottish-born millionaire business man Andrew Carnegie heard about this colossal discovery and set about acquiring the bones for his new Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh.

By royal appointment

When visiting Carnegie at his Scottish castle, King Edward VII saw a sketch of the Diplodocus and remarked how much he’d like a similar specimen for the Natural History Museum. Carnegie commissioned a replica cast of his dinosaur and the replica 292-bone skeleton arrived in London in 36 packing cases in 1905.

Four months later, Dippy was unveiled in a lavish ceremony. The Diplodocus has moved around the Museum during its 112 year stay, including a brief stay in the Museum’s basement during WWII to protect it from bomb damage. It’s also changed poses, having its head raised to a horizontal positioned and tail moved to curl over visitors’ heads, reflecting advancements in our understanding of dinosaur biology.

90 million people are estimated to have seen Dippy in London, and the dinosaur could almost be considered a national treasure. When the Natural History Museum announced in January 2015 that Dippy would be leaving the Hintze Hall #SaveDippy trended on Twitter, with hundreds of people sharing memories of visiting the 70ft skeleton and 30,000 people signing a petition.

Dippy will now be ‘flatpacked’ in a three-and-a-half-week operation before museum conservators spend a year preparing the cast for a two-year tour around the UK. The Museum’s director, Michael Dixon, said that they wanted Dippy to visit unusual locations “so he can draw in people who may not traditionally visit a museum. Making iconic items accessible to as many people as possible is at the heart of what museums give to the nation.” These locations include Museums in Belfast and Birmingham, Norwich Cathedral and a community centre in Rochdale.

As of summer 2017 a 25m and 4.5 tonne female whale skeleton will be suspended from the ceiling of the Hintze Hall. Museum curators hope that the whale will become just as iconic and encourage visitors to explore the world around them, emphasising ‘natural’ as much as ‘history’. Dippy won’t be leaving the Museum entirely though, with plans for a bronze ‘son of Dippy’ to be cast and on display in landscaped museum gardens.

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Contemporary Collecting

December 15, 2016

 

It’s difficult to convince people that museums aren’t just buildings full of old things. Not least, because they usually are. Many of the most visited museums in the world are centenary old institutions, exhibiting an array of objects, artefacts and artworks that were part of the founding collections.

Whilst historical objects make up a sizeable portion of many museums collections, institutions are still collecting contemporary items… (more…)

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