LSTM’s Tropical Medicine Time Machine visits Port Sunlight Village

News article 27 Feb 2024

LSTM’s Tropical Medicine Time Machine landed at the Soapworks museum at Port Sunlight Village for half-term weekend. 

Scientists from across LSTM showcased the science and history of LSTM to 120 Wirral residents during the school half-term holidays. Families visiting Soapworks explored the Tropical Medicine Time Machine, having the opportunity to discover the science of snake venom, how parasites are diagnosed, vector biology, and antimicrobial resistance.

The Tropical Medicine Time Machine, created by Sci-Art practitioners Tom Hyatt and Natasha Niethamer as part of the National Lottery Heritage-Fund supported project ‘LSTM-Past, Present, and Future’ takes the audience on a journey through LSTM’s rich history, opening the doors to conversations around the institute’s early years. The Time Machine contains 3D-printed ‘artefacts’ each representing an element of LSTM’s history and work. The artefacts trigger a series of videos which tell the story of life in LSTM, allowing the families to explore ‘behind-the scenes’ in its laboratories and archives.

LSTM staff and students brought their own science ‘artefacts’ to the museum which connected to their own research interests, including microbiological swabs from the Swab and Send project, products brought to market by the Infection Innovation Consortium:iiCON and an educational simulation of the catalase test, a diagnostic test for bacteria producing the enzyme catalase.

Joining LSTM scientists at Soapworks was a cohort of community volunteers who were recruited through the Liverpool City Council Volunteer Scheme and LSTM’s partnership with Everton in the Community. The community volunteers encouraged children to take part in a “make-and-take” activity which saw them make mosquitoes and other disease vectors out of pipe cleaners.

A parent of a child exploring the Tropical Medicine Time Machine said: “I came with my daughter who has Aspergers, and she really loved it. The headphones were fantastic as she has some sensory issues and was able to immerse herself in learning without feeling interrupted.”

Another visitor to Soapworks continued: “I really enjoyed the Tropical Medicine Time Machine. I learnt about Alwen Evans and her important work in understanding mosquitoes and a lot about the work of LSTM. I enjoyed the interactive time machine box itself; it is a novel approach.”

The Tropical Medicine Time Machine will be continuing its journey through the schools within the city through LSTM’s partnership with Everton in the Community before joining us at the Liverpool Pint of Science Festival in May.