This Week in London – Cosmonauts at the Science Museum; space on show at the Royal Observatory; Simon Schama’s portrait picks; and, celebrating iconic road signs…

September 17, 2015

Vostock- The greatest collection of Soviet spacecraft and artefacts ever exhibited outside of Russia can be seen at the Science Museum from tomorrow. Cosmonauts: Birth of the Space Age tells the story of Russia’s involvement in the ‘space age’ from the late 19th century through to life onboard Mir and the International Space Station. Exhibits cover the 1957 launch of Sputnik – the world’s first artificial satellite, the sending of the first human into space – Yuri Gagarin, in 1961, as well as the first women – Valentina Tereshkova – in 1963. Star objects include rocket pioneer Konstantin Tsiolkovsky’s 1933 drawings depicting spaceflight, an original model of Sputnik from 1957, and Vostok-6, the capsule that carried Tereshkova, as well as some of the many technologies developed for use on board the Salyut and Mir space stations and the ISS. The exhibition, a collaboration between the Science Museum, the State Museum Exhibition Centre ROSIZO and the Federal Space Agency Roscosmos, runs at the South Kensington museum until 13th March. Admission charge applies. For more, see www.sciencemuseum.ac.uk. PICTURE: Visitors study the Vostok 6 descent module, which safely returned Valentina Tereshkova from space. © Science Museum

Still talking of space and an exhibition of images of space goes on show at the Royal Observatory Greenwich from tomorrow. The Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2015 awards, now in its seventh year, received more than 2,700 entries from amateurs and professionals who live in more than 60 countries across the globe. The winners, which will be announced today at a special ceremony at the Royal Observatory, were selected from short-listed pictures which include a meteor flying through space above Mt Ranier in the US, the night sky mirrored on the world’s largest salt flat of Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia, and images capturing a range of phenomena from across the universe – from the hyper giant star, Eta Carinae, to the supernova remnant known as the Jellyfish Nebula. The exhibition is free. For more, see www.rmg.co.uk.

Historian Simon Schama has joined with the National Portrait Gallery in creating five new temporary displays featuring portraits arranged by theme rather than year. Simon Schama’s The Face of Britain, which coincides with the launch of a five part TV series and book, will feature a range of portraits taken from the gallery’s collection around the themes of power, love, fame, people and self-portraits. It juxtaposes portraits of the likes of former PM Sir Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher with Queen Elizabeth I; and those of explorer Francis Drake and Thomas Carlyle alongside Amy Winehouse. The displays are integrated into a free trail with eight to 12 works in each of the five rooms. A full programme of events accompanies the displays which will be in the gallery, just off Trafalgar Square, until 4th January. Admission is free. For more, see www.npg.org.uk.

The London Design Festival kicks off on Saturday and as part of the event, the Design Museum is marking the 50th anniversary of Calvert and Kinneir British road signage with a free exhibition. MADE NORTH has commissioned a number of leading designers and artists to create their own interpretations of Margaret Calvert and Jock Kinneir’s circle, triangle and square signs including Sir Peter Blake, Sir Terence Conran, Sir Keith Grange, Betty Jackson, Julian Opie and Richard Rogers. A display of more than 40 of the new signs – along with a number of Calvert and Kinneir originals and a one-off version of the Road Works sign specially created by Calvert – are on show at a free installation in the Design Museum’s Tank and Riverside Hall until 25th October. More of the newly designed anniversary signs can be seen at locations across the city and at www.britishdesignproject.co.uk. For more on the London Design Museum, see www.designmuseum.org, and for the full programme of the London Design Festival, which runs until 27th September, check out www.londondesignfestival.com.

Send all items for inclusion to exploringlondon@gmail.com.

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