News & Analysis

Engineers gallery to open at Science Museum in June 2023

19th January 2023
Sheryl Miles

In June 2023, the Science Museum will open an ambitious new gallery dedicated to world-changing engineering innovations and the diverse and fascinating range of people behind them.

Engineers change the world. They work creatively, sustainably, with precision, and collaboratively, to create bold, ground-breaking responses to global challenges and improve billions of lives.

The Engineers gallery will celebrate our engineering heritage and showcase some of these innovations through the global lens of the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering – one of the world’s leading award for engineers – with current and past prize winners featured throughout.

At the heart of the gallery will be richly illustrated, characterful stories from more than 60 engineers working in a broad range of industries, such as farming, fashion, robotics and medicine, shining a light on their lives, motivations, thought processes, and what they do day to day. These stories sit within four distinct sections, highlighting a breadth of promising new work which builds on the successes of previous QEPrize winners.

Bodies​ will look at how controlled drug delivery and surgical robots place people and their bodies at the heart of precision engineering practice. In Lives​, LED lighting and digital imaging sensors​ illustrate how engineers work sustainably, building enduring businesses, with a minimised ecological footprint. In Connections​, GPS, internet and web technologies represent engineering as a connected practice, with diverse teams creating new global information and communication systems. The final section Creating​ looks at how engineers create products, from software to suspension bridges. Their creative ways of thinking are central to developing amazing innovations which can change the world.

Sir Ian Blatchford, Director and Chief Executive of the Science Museum Group, said: ‘Everyday life depends on the skills and creativity of engineers. In bringing this fabulous new gallery to life, we’re delighted to be working with the QEPrize, whose recognition of some of the most brilliant minds and important innovations of our time is so vital. I know our many visitors will be inspired by the stories they will encounter.’

Lord Browne of Madingley FREng FRS, Chairman of The Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering Foundation, said: ‘Engineering enables and enhances every aspect of modern life and we are honoured to be able to work with the Science Museum to showcase the creativity and exhilaration of engineering innovation in such a public forum. Engineers hold the key to solving many of the global challenges we face in the future and the QEPrize exists to celebrate their visionary achievements.’

Dr Hayaatun Sillem CBE, CEO of the QEPrize and of the Royal Academy of Engineering, said: ‘2023 marks the first decade of the QEPrize and its role in championing bold, ground-breaking engineering innovation that is of global benefit to humanity. Working with our global QEPrize Ambassador Network of early career engineers, some of whom are featured in this exhibition, we aim to inspire young people from all backgrounds, all around the world, to consider a future career in engineering.’ 

Research shows young people’s knowledge of engineering is low, and what they do know is often influenced by stereotypes and misinformation (Educational Pathways into Engineering, Engineering UK 2020). By connecting audiences with people just like themselves who have created and pursued innovation, the gallery will provide a much-needed ‘way in’ to a subject many feel disconnected from, and open people’s eyes to the possibilities it affords.

Visitors will have the opportunity to take a closer look at iconic objects from the cutting-edge CMR ‘Versius’ surgical robot arm to the first digital camera, and a miniature atomic clock which the entire GPS system depended upon, as well as learn more about the remarkable people who invented them.

Situated on Level 1, the Engineers gallery will be adjacent to Technicians: The David Sainsbury Gallery, which opened in November 2022. These complementary galleries showcase a rich suite of personal stories and innovations that impact our everyday life. The fresh, contemporary design of the new gallery will use carefully selected sustainable building materials, reflecting engineers’ role in building a sustainable future.

Engineers is the latest manifestation of the Science Museum’s ambitious plans to radically transform its public spaces. The past decade has seen the development of award-winning permanent galleries, including popular interactive children’s gallery Wonderlab: the Equinor Gallery, Zaha Hadid Architects-designed Mathematics: The Winton Gallery, Science City 1550-1800: The Linbury Gallery, and the acclaimed Medicine: The Wellcome Galleries – the largest medicine galleries in the world.

The 2023 winner of the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering will be announced in London on Tuesday 7 February 2023 at the Royal Academy of Engineering. The international panel of judges look for a ground-breaking innovation in engineering that has been of global benefit to humanity.

Engineers has been supported by the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering (Major Funder) and MathWorks (Major Sponsor).

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