Above and Beyond

Things to do, Exhibitions
3 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

Experience the marvellous world of flight and aerospace innovation at this immersive exhibition.

What’s this? A video games arcade inside the National Maritime Museum? The large space on the building’s lower level is full of noise and movement. Children spread their arms wide to control the flight of virtual birds. Fingers prod at screens to design drones capable of undertaking space missions. A long queue (too long for me) snakes out of a flight simulator.

Only a few exhibits resemble traditional museum displays; a collection of micro-satellites shows how much technology can be squeezed into an object the size of a fingernail, while displays of model aircraft and spaceships demonstrate the cutting edge of flight design. Elsewhere, the emphasis is on doing rather than reading or looking.

That doesn’t make it any less educational, though. Everything here is underpinned by science and history, charting man’s journey into the air from balloons to rockets. It’s no coincidence the show opened just in time for the school holidays. It will appeal to children more than adults, who might find some displays more gimmicky than informative. But I defy anyone to step into the virtual space elevator that takes you 33,000 miles above Earth without experiencing a moment of childlike wonder.

By: Louise Schwartzkoff

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