Monday, January 18, 2010

Things to do with the kids: Museum of Science and Industry


Manchester has a great industrial heritage and a place in history as the one of the cradles of of the industrial revolution. So it is fitting that it is home to the Museum of Science and Industry.

Our trip there (one rainy day last November) only took in perhaps half of what there is to see. Here's what we managed.

The Air hall - old planes, motor bikes, helicopters, a Lancaster bomber and a state of the art Euro fighter simulator. (Oliver not quite tall enough yet, but next time...)

The 1830 wharehouse - with Victorian Sewer complete with smells.

The Power Hall - trains, generators, and a rather good demonstration of hydro-electric power generation. A hand-pump fills a tank with water. When it is sufficiently full, the water is released by a flushing mechanism allowing it to fall onto the water-wheel which spins turning a dynamo which lights some LED lights.

Later, snuggled up with Oliver as he was falling asleep, he asked about it and I found myself explaining electricity generation to him. Pump water, flush water, wheel turns, makes electricity (skimming over the tricky bit about coils in magnetic fields) and lights the light. To my amazement Oliver then asked me how it makes electricity when it turns the wheel. Avoiding repetition of the first year of my Electrical Engineering degree to a four year old, I told him it turns magnets like we have on the fridge and doing that makes electricity. A slightly mysterious and summary explanation. He seemed to accept it and hopefully it's been enough to spark his curiosity later.

There was also a large water wheel which held Lucy entranced. She of course also pumped the mini hydro-electric plant but was persuaded to let Daddy help (or we might still have been there now).

The kids also got to make paper rockets which were fired high into the air by compressed air.

It was a gret way to spend a couple of hours with some fantastic exhibits. I'm sure we'll be going back there again sometime and not just because it was all free.


Jessi said...

That sounds fabulous. I'm jealous of all the cool museums in the UK. From my trip to London, I went to as many as I could pack in and my favorite (by far) is the MOMI. I want to go back just to see that again! Glad you all had a fun day.

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