Science museum

What did Stephen Hawking’s office look like? The London Science Museum will show you around

Anyone who has ever wondered what Stephen Hawking’s office looked like will soon be able to take a peek inside the famous astrophysicist’s work and study space at the Science Museum in London. But the British museum isn’t the only institution recreating the workspaces of some of the brightest minds of recent times.

As workers around the world begin to return to their offices, visitors to the Science Museum in London will soon be able to take a look behind the scenes of legendary physicist Stephen Hawking’s workspace. The contents of the office of the late British cosmologist, who worked and studied at the University of Cambridge, recently joined the London-based museum’s collection. Content includes personal reference books, chalkboards, and coffee-making equipment, as well as more surprising items, like bets he’s made on scientific debates and Star Trek memorabilia.

“While theoretical physics is filled with abstract ideas, the contents of Hawking’s office demonstrate how great social science can be. It was a hive of activity, where Hawking colleagues and collaborators could debate ideas on blackboards, with a ready supply of tea and coffee,” the Science Museum Group said in a statement.

The contents of Stephen Hawking’s academic office will be on display at the London Science Museum from next year, while the British physicist’s archive of scientific and personal papers will remain in Cambridge at the University Library. “I am absolutely thrilled to have my father Stephen Hawking’s collection come here to the Science Museum Group. It is an amazing collection of all the objects, paperwork, books and artifacts that were in his office in Cambridge. So it’s really an opportunity, in fact, to experience his work environment as it was,” said Lucy Hawking.

The offices of the famous… and the less famous

The Science Museum Group says it is pleased to have acquired the contents of Stephen Hawking’s office, which will join “a very small group of preserved spaces of scientific significance”, such as James Watt’s studio. “While pieces of decorative or artistic interest are often preserved for posterity, spaces for science are rarely spared,” the museum explains.

Although the idea of ​​recreating the offices of notable figures in museums may seem surprising, it is actually more common than you might think. The Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum notably houses a replica of the most famous offices in the world: the Oval Office. This life-size reproduction is furnished exactly as it was during the presidency of Jimmy Carter, giving museum visitors a glimpse into the daily life of the 39th US President.

Similarly, visitors to the V&A will soon be able to admire the legendary desk designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for businessman Edgar J. Kaufmann. This room will, in fact, be the only interior of the American architect to be exhibited outside the United States. “The V&A has many period rooms in its collections, but none of them are as authentic and original as the Kaufmann office,” explains the London museum.

While some museums reproduce the offices and workspaces of illustrious personalities, others focus on personalities less known to the public. For example, in the spring of 2013, visitors to the Minneapolis Institute of Art were able to discover the office of former curator Barton Kestle. At first glance, this was a workspace preserved in its original flavor from 1950…except it was actually an installation by artist Mark Dion.

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