Science museum

Everything is Greek at the Science Museum


An exploration of how the ancient Greeks viewed the convergence of art and science opened up at the Science Museum, showcasing ancient Greek artifacts, many of which have never been seen in the UK before.

The ancient Greek philosophers defined themselves as “lovers of wisdom” and, for them, art, religion and science were inseparable. They turned to the Gods and Muses for their intellectual inspiration as they sought to understand the world around them and question how it worked.

The exhibit takes a selection of items that then reflect those thoughts and opinions, so it’s an exhibit that’s full of things to see, but more highlights that should trigger our own reflections.

The exhibition opens with a dramatic and very artful staging using animated lights and video to showcase the nine Muses carved on the side of a sarcophagus.

Be aware that the animation stops for a moment at the end before repeating and the countdown is quite small, so if you enter during the interval it can be very easy to miss the display. And that would be a shame because it’s pretty good.

The muses make a second appearance in the exhibition, in the form of a set of gold earrings representing one of the goddesses of intellectual and artistic activity. Spread your artistic nature to the world around you.

Around the back is a crumpled background – a large statue of Hermes discovered on the same shipwreck that led to the discovery of the Antikythera Mechanism. Its head is exceptionally free from erosion because it was covered with sediment.

While the mechanism is not there, as it would headline any exhibit, the second oldest mechanical gear calendar in the world is here, dating from around 400 to 600 CE.

A small silver globe rewards careful study, as it is a celestial globe, one of only three known survivors of ancient Greece and shows the 48 constellations known to astronomers at the time in mythical creatures. A fusion of art and science in an object the size of a cricket ball.

It’s a beautiful exhibit, timed with the 200th anniversary of the start of the Greek War of Independence, and features a bunch of headlines about how ancient Greece saw the world.

It’s not very detailed, just fact teasers, with a few videos that go into more detail, but it’s a feast for the eyes if you’re already visiting the Science Museum.

The exhibition, Ancient Greeks: Science and Wisdom is free to visit and open at the Science Museum until June 5, 2022.

You must book a free ticket from here.