Tuesday, 18 January 2011

snap, crackle, pop: museums of electricity worldwide

Still awed at the Museum of Electricity in Bournemouth, I started looking for more of them. So now I have new excuses to visit Lisbon, Japan and the states of Washington, Minnesota and Texas, among other places.

I like the look of the mammoth machines, model village and animated models of Lisbon ...

... and the big horns and theremin at Bellingham.

But, perhaps not surprisingly, a particular favourite was Robert Little's backyard Wonder World Of Science (or, as it's not so prosaically called, The Little & Farquhar Science Museum) in Temple, Texas, which celebrates the age of "mystifying" and "spectacular" electronic and other wonders, complete with hypnosis wheels, vintage periodic tables and glowing fluorine balls.

Jedi mindball looks worth trying at the Bakken Museum in Minneapolis though (as does seeing its Victor Frankenstein laboratory and electric aquarium).

Worthy mentions also go out to Electrokinetica, a virtual version of a hoped-for real celebration of the power and magic of arcane electrical machines, the Porthcurno Telegraph Museum in Cornwall, which also has "sci-art" kinetic sculptures and a cable woodland trail as well as an archive of cable and early wireless technology in tunnels, and the Electric Power Historical Museum in Yokohama, Japan, where the 700 exhibits include the "Charming Banzai iron Tower", the "three holy durables" of 50s consumer electrics and a manhole. Yes, a manhole.

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