A CENTURY ago the Science Museum opened its doors for the first time in South Kensington's famous museum district.
For 100 years it has served the country by explaining the wonders of world-changing creations to the masses - from Puffing Billy and Stephenson's Rocket, to GM crops and atomic bombs.
Last week director Professor Chris Rapley, 62, announced that £100million is to be invested in the museum to help serve and educate the country for generations to come.
The cash will be used to build a 'museum of the future', creating new galleries to investigate cosmology and space, as well as an ambitious 'beacon' entrance - essentially a giant lit-up bubble which will burst out on to Exhibition Road.
Surrounded by inventions which have changed society forever, Prof Rapley - a former NASA scientist - explained the significance of the project and why he is so proud to be at its helm.
"The purpose of the museum is to make sense of the science which shapes our lives, including our personal, professional and political ideas," he said.
"We have the chance to change the world.
"That is the same kind of vision which was in place in 1909. You feel the privilege and responsibility."
The weight of history is indeed on his shoulders.
The Science Museum was created out of the Great Exhibition held in Hyde Park in 1851.
The popularity of the one-shilling Victorian show, which was show-cased in the Crystal Palace and championed by Prince Albert, led to the development of the South Kensington museum in the nearby gardens and allotments around Brompton Park House.
As its collections grew, the overflowing museum separated to form the Victoria and Albert and, in 1909, the Science Museum.
From its conception, it has been at the forefront of science, changing its galleries as the world changed irrevocably around it.
It now has 350,000 objects - only six per cent of which can be displayed at one time.
Curator of communications John Liffen has worked at the museum for more than 40 years.
He recalled watching the 1969 moon landings from the museum's new colour TV as a young 19-year-old worker.
"I remember making my way through the crowds to sit down. I felt very special," he said.
But talking to Mr Liffen, it is clear that the passion which drives employees to dedicate decades to furthering knowledge is the key to this Royal Borough institution. Explaining what working at the museum means to him, Mr Liffin said: "Some people are lucky enough to devote their lives to service rather than personal gain, and I suppose I'm one of them."