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Our collection

The Science Museum Group cares for an astonishingly diverse and internationally significant collection of 7.3 million items from science, technology, engineering, medicine, transport and media.

Together these objects tell the story of our world—from the rise of the Indus Valley civilisation over 3,000 years ago to the microchips powering our connected planet today.

We have embarked on an ambitious project to transform how we care for and share this remarkable collection with the world. This once-in-a-generation project will dramatically improve public access to many thousands of historic items, enabling you to explore more of the collection than ever before.

About the collection

Our collection traces its origin back to the 1851 Great Exhibition. Among the 7.3 million items we now care for there are:

  • 140,000 medical items, including the long-term loan of the Wellcome Collection
  • 38,000 items relating to railway locomotives, technology and railway life
  • 26,000 scientific instruments
  • 17,000 items of photographic, cinematographic and televisual technology
  • 7,000 artworks

Standout items from our collection include: Alan Turing’s Pilot ACE computer; one of the first models used to represent atomsCharles Babbage’s drawings and modelsDorothy Hodgkin’s model of penicillinHelen Sharman’s spacesuit and Tim Peake’s spacecraftAmy Johnson’s Gipsy Moth aircraft; famous locomotives from Stephenson’s Rocket and Sans Pareil to Mallard and Flying Scotsman and the world’s earliest surviving photographic negative.

A photograph detail of the BESM-6 Supercomputer in Russia
BESM-6 Supercomputer (2014-10/1)

Access online

You can discover over 300,000 objects, photographs and archive materials on our collection website.

Use the website to:

Our digitisation programme will continue to enhance existing collection information and add new items from the collection to the website.

To give feedback on our collections website, email us.


The following resources are also available online:

On display

You can visit objects from the collection at each of our museums:

If you’re visiting to see a particular object, please email us at least 48 hours in advance of your arrival so that we can ensure it’s on display.

Visit by appointment

You can view objects and archive and library materials which are not on display by appointment.


The Science Museum Group has begun an ambitious project to transform how we care for and share our collection with the world.

Over 300,000 objects held at Blythe House in London are in the process of being studied, photographed, packed and moved into a new building at the National Collections Centre in Wiltshire.

The first of these objects began arriving at the new facility in June 2021, and the new building will open regularly for public tours, school and research visits from 2024.

Due to this extensive programme of work, access to objects at Blythe House ended in April 2019. Access to objects at the National Collections Centre will not be possible until 2024.

The majority of objects in the Science Museum Group Collection will be digitised as part of this project, with hundreds of new images published online each month.

Other opportunities

A Brief History of Stuff

Even the most ordinary objects have extraordinary stories to tell. The new podcast from the Science Museum Group explores the past, present and future of the everyday things in your home with host Nihal Arthanayake.

Find out more and listen to the episodes.