Tower Bridge design, 1800's
London Metropolitan Archives (LMA) has a thriving programme of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, also known as STEM. A number of courses and workshops are offered to schools and colleges, such as:
- Food science: Sweet London looks at the J Lyons Collection, changing states, freezing points and allows pupils to produce ice cream in our education room.
- Bridges and Towers studies forces, materials, structure and bridge design, through a famous case study, Tower Bridge. Again, pupils have the chance for hands on practical science in the education room by building towers from a variety of materials.
- Public health is looked at with Disease that focuses on the cholera and smallpox epidemics of the 19th century, focusing on epidemiology and mapping as well as symptoms and treatments.
We also provided career consultation and support through the Science Summer College in 2013 and STEM in the City, the Lord Mayor’s career event at the Guildhall. We focused on the inherent science skills and knowledge needed in running an archive using the Great Parchment Book as a case study. This demonstrated a great technical approach to accessing a 17th century burnt parchment, by digitally flattening the pages. The students were able to use the technology and were amazed with what could be achieved in a short space of time.
LMA has also worked with a number of partners to run conferences and seminars as a way to look at science in our collections and identify what is relevant to contemporary societies. In 2014 we held a number of conferences around science in the archives. The Smallpox in London conference and seminar was part of the conservation and digitisation of smallpox maps, a project funded by the Wellcome Trust. LMA worked closely with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine on content for the conference and seminar. We also held a conference on Science in the Archives, with speakers from CERN (the European Organisation for Nuclear Research), Imperial College and the Bodleian Library.