Science Museum London 1940s image Transport Through the Ages

The museum diorama is an acquired taste. Shelf Appeal has acquired it. Models small and large, playing with perspective, history and sometimes even realism. Working for a good while at the Science Museum in London means I walk past some super historical examples of the genre each time I go there.

Shelf Appeal posted about such models a while ago. That pedalo model, from the Shipping Gallery, has now been removed to make way for new shinier things. But some super dioramas remain in the Agriculture Gallery there and diorama models from both can be seen here.

Some few Science Museum dioramas left quite a grand legacy, in the form of a set of grand, murky postcards covering Transport Through the Ages. From what I can gather this was an exhibition – or display – of transport related dioramas put up at the Science Museum in 1932. There is a prosaic poster to announce the fact. And this photo shows children soaking in the dioramas in the early 1940s. You can see the diorama of the man carrying a dead horse, below, in the photograph above.

The display seems to have remained in situ, as part of The Children’s Gallery until the early 1990s. Unfortunately Shelf Appeal missed seeing it in all its dusty glory.

These postcards make up an impressive set covering an impressive piece of work by (relatively) famous model-maker-sculptors. And what’s more interesting is that the model makers are credited on these cards. There was a model making workshop in the basement of the museum for a long time. If only time travel could take me there.

How odd it sounds today – an exhibition of dioramas. In terms of exhibiting big transport things it makes sense to go small. In terms of early museum display it makes sense too, they once really liked a diorama. Alas, they’re considered old fashioned (and not in a good way) now.

Science Museum Transport Through the Ages postcard

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