Science Museum Dares to be different

A Science Museum exhibition is aiming to make technological design more appealing through the use of Eagle comic-book character Dan Dare.

Opening this month, Dan Dare And The Birth Of Hi-tech Britain has been devised by the museum’s team, including creative director Tim Molloy, head of graphic design Lyn Modaberi and graphic designer Mark Thornicroft, with Andy Feast as 3D consultant.

Aiming to illustrate why the UK retains an important global presence in design today, the show will look at graphic illustrator Frank Hampson’s cartoon space pilot and his influence on designers, architects and engineers who grew up in the 1950s and 1960s.

Molloy says, ‘The clean-cut British hero is the host for all the pieces on display.’

Andrew Nahum, principal curator of technology and engineering at the Science Museum, adds, ‘It uses Dan Dare as a tempter, to lead people to discover designs including nuclear weapons, coal-cutters and gadgets.’

Encompassing the second floor of the main gallery, the show will be divided into four sections: Britain Can’t Have It, Will Design Save The World?, Murphy Not Sony and You Never Had It So Good.

Looking at the influence of designers including Abram Games and Ernest Race, it will also consider the development of the Design Council, which started life in 1944 as the Council of Industrial Design.

On display will be three Pye designs by Robin Day, Games’ iconic poster for the 1951 Festival Of Britain, a Cona coffee maker and the Prestcold Packaway refrigerator, which won the first Prince Philip Designer’s Prize.

Eagle was conceived by Marcus Morris in 1950 to provide a wholesome alternative to US comic-book strips, which were seen as overly sexualised. In their youth, James Dyson, Gerald Scarfe and David Hockney all won prizes in Eagle competitions.

The exhibition runs from 30 April to 25 October at the Science Museum in Kensington, London SW7.

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