PHoSTEM: Public History of Science, Technology, Engineering & Medicine

PHoSTEM (Museums and the Public History of Science, Technology, Engineering and Medicine: Prospects and Issues) is a joint enterprise which was divised in collaboration for AHRC funding with Tim Boon, Head of Public History at the Science Museum and Helen Weinstein, Founding Director of the Institute for the Public Understanding of the Past, who completed the report writing of the project as Founding Director of Historyworks in Cambridge.  

The lead insitution was the Science Museum, London; working in partnership with IPUP, Institute for the Public Understanding of the Past, University of York; and the Centre for the History and Philosophy of Science, University of Leeds, funded under the AHRC's Science in Culture emerging theme.  Helen Weinstein hosted the first of the workshops at the National Railway Museum, part of the Science Museum Group, located in York! 

Workshop series

We held three workshops in 2012/2013 to provide an opportunity for historians of science, technology and medicine to meet museum professionals to discuss a series of issues in the public culture of the history of science.

The popularity of historical leisure pursuits today is significant. Surveys show that more than 50% British adults express interest in learning more about family history. Television history programmes often have two million viewers, and historical magazines have monthly circulations of 80,000.

This research network explored the potential of this phenomenon for museums of science and technology to produce new kinds of historical exhibitions and events that display and interpret their historical collections more effectively. Simultaneously, it looked at the potential of these museums for successful history of science knowledge exchange from universities.

PHoSTEM Workshop Reports by Director Helen Weinstein & Researcher Sam Johnson

Cultural change, material culture and public history

PHoSTEM York Meeting


PHoSTEM-York-Report (PDF  , 1,065kb)

University engagement with museums and audiences 

PHoSTEM Leeds Meeting

PhoSTEM Leeds Report (PDF  , 1,670kb)

Science Museums in a Changing World - "Is Science a Special Case in Museology"

PHoSTEM London Meeting Report


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