The Children's Gallery in the Science Museum in London opened in December 1931. Conceived partly as a response to the overwhelming number of children visiting the Museum and partly as a way in which to advance its educational uses, the Gallery proved to be an immediate success in terms of attendances. In the Gallery, children and adults found historical dioramas and models, all of which aimed at presenting visitors with the social, material and moral impacts of science and technology on society throughout history. Also, there were numerous working models with plenty of buttons to press, handles to turn and ropes to pull. Controversial visitor studies carried out in the 1950s revealed that the historical didacticism was more or less lost on the children who came to the Gallery. Consequently, the New Children's Gallery that opened in 1969 had to some extent abandoned the historical perspective in favour of combining instruction with pleasure in order to make the children feel that ‘science is a wonderful thing’.
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