Robots at the Science Museum is a small but perfectly formed exhibition documenting the last 500 years of mechanical developments in the quest to turn machines into human beings – or at least to make them more lifelike and purposeful.
At the entrance is a really creepy moving baby pinned to an illuminated mattress on a wall… which is a great introduction to what’s to come. The exhibition is basically a 500-year review of mankind’s obsession with creating robots in our own image – from the very early almost primitive beginnings up to modern day robots that can mimic our expressions, and follow our movements (my kids loved that bit!).
The exhibition is separated into five distinct sections – Marvel (early stages with clockwork), Obey (a reflection of the Industrial Revolution), Dream (creating robots to help fulfil our dreams), Build (looking at advances in technology to create the perfect robot), and Imagine (the present where social robots are starting to become a reality). From trumpet-playing robots, to creepy small children robots that follow your gaze, 12 of the robots are working models and you can actually interact with them. There’s even a weird robotic cat you can stroke – although when we were there the Science Museum employee that was in charge of said cat was more than a little over protective! Other highlights included the Terminator robot and a robot with an enormous red mouth.
So, at the risk of sounding sexists, if you have an important boy/man in your life you could do a lot worse than treat him to an hour at the Robots Exhibition at the Science Museum. We went for my son’s birthday treat – he was most excited by the prospect whilst my daughter was definitely a reluctant attendee – but we all really enjoyed it. The costs is a bit steep – it was £31.50 for my family of three, however we also took the opportunity to mooch around the rest of the museum and were particularly taken with the Zaha Hadid-designed Mathematics Winton Gallery. This is in itself a reason to visit the Science Museum, and entrance to this is actually free!
The Robots Exhibition finishes on 3rd September 2017.