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Energy in store

Energy in Store ran between July 2017 and September 2018. The project explored the constraints and opportunities regarding access, consultation and communication between the Science Museum Group and the volunteer heritage sector. The project aimed to ensure that the collections are as well-understood, and well-used as possible.

The Group’s collections include around 425,000 objects, and in total seven million items including books, archival records, photographs and other media. Although some of these are on permanent display in the museums, and others will feature in special exhibitions and loans to other venues, most of them will remain in the stores for the foreseeable future.

However, these ‘stored’ objects represent a vital resource for historical researchers of all kinds, now and in future generations. Over a year, the project bought together curators from the Science Museum Group and lay experts for a series of structured discussions about the Group’s stored collections.

This small working-group of curators and enthusiast historians of technology were united by an interest in the history of energy. Together they explored the roles that the stored collections play in the research of different communities with an interest in energy heritage.

Enthusiast historians of technology often include former professional engineers, model builders, or even inventors, who have detailed knowledge and practical skills that are vital to shedding new light on the collections, and also to bringing them to life. They are often the stalwarts of, and advocates for, volunteer museums and demonstration sites across the UK.

John Wallett and Aura Films documented the group’s diverse perspectives on the stored collections.

You can watch the film here.

Please check back to this website soon for more outputs from this project.


The project was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (grant ref: AH/P013678/1 official title: Integrating Forms of Care: building communities of practice around reserve collections).

It was delivered by Dr Anna Woodham, King’s College London, Jack Kirby, Group Head of Collection Services, SMG, and Dr Elizabeth Haines, Research Associate, Science Museum, London, between July 2017 and July 2018.

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King's College London