Navigating Gare de Lyon Part Dieu

Navigating Lyon‘s large Part Dieu train station is difficult enough for a sighted person but for a blind person it must be a nightmare. Thankfully the station has something installed that I have yet to notice elsewhere.

Around the station are tracks denoted with raised markers on each edge. The markers are plastic strips that form static permanent ridges, effectively paths, around the station complex.

A simple, presumably effective, addition that makes the station a little more accessible.

The paths extend throughout the station
The paths extend throughout the station
Raised edges denote paths for the blind
Raised edges denote paths for the blind

Museum of Science and Industry

We visited the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) during our time in Manchester. A museum I was looking forward to but came away disappointed.

Manchester’s Museum of Science and Industry is situated within easy walking distance of the city centre and worth visiting. It is a large site and difficult to see all in one visit; thus I wonder if I happened upon a particularly poor route through the few exhibits I did see.

Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester
Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester
Mural on the outside of a MOSI building
Mural on the outside of a MOSI building

For the Curators

I long for a science museum that caters to adults as well as children. Kids are easily entertained and school field trips are clearly a target audience for most educational establishments.

Child lifting a car body
Child lifting a car body

But please also teach me, an adult, about science and industry. I care too. Do not assume I know anything about the exhibit. Do not assume I have a background in the subject. Instead assume I am open and willing to learn something profound and a touch complex. Walk me through the stages and steps that led to an event or outcome. Never talk down to me. Never treat me like a fool.

There has been a trend towards science communicators explicitly saying “we do not know everything” or “we do not yet understand”; these are great sentiments to get across and entice interest. I want to see this expressed more in museums.

Funding

The Museum of Science and Industry clearly lacks funds to maintain it exhibits. Many are worn or broken. Buttons missing, mechanisms failing.

I have seen this time and time again in museums during our travels. Exhibits left to slowly decay. The staff must recognise the problems; label them. A small “sorry out of order” notice would be helpful. It would acknowledge, publicly, the problems. Rather than leaving each visitor to wonder afresh if something should be happening or if they misunderstood the intent of the display.

Unfair

This post should not feel so difficult to write. I want great science museums and it pains me to highlight problems or to publish negative opinions. Too many museums cater for kids at an age where almost any brightly coloured, loud, exhibit would entertain.

The Museum of Science and Industry is a good museum and it is free but it is not great. And I dearly want it to be great.

Replica of the Manchester University "Baby" computer
Replica of the Manchester University “Baby” computer

Punch card directed loom
Punch card directed loom
Detail of a punch card directed loom
Detail of a punch card directed loom

Christmas Decorations in London

A few photos of the Christmas decorations in central London, UK.

Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square
Iconic British phone boxes
Iconic British phone boxes
Christmas street decorations
Christmas street decorations
Christmas decorations along Regent Street, London
Christmas decorations along Regent Street, London
Hamleys toy store at Christmas
Hamleys toy store at Christmas
Hackets store decorated with lights
Hackets store decorated with lights
Illuminated side street off Regents Street
Illuminated side street off Regents Street
London bus
London bus
Carousel in London
Carousel in London
2014 V&A Christmas tree; mirrored triangles
2014 V&A Christmas tree; mirrored triangles
Ice rink outside Kensington museums
Ice rink outside Kensington museums
Kensington trees wrapped in lights
Kensington trees wrapped in lights
Harrods illuminated for Christmas
Harrods illuminated for Christmas
Knightsbridge tube stop at Christmas
Knightsbridge tube stop at Christmas
Hyde Park Wonderland
Hyde Park Wonderland