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Charlotte Connelly

PhD student

College: Hughes Hall
Supervisor: Hasok Chang, Simon Schaffer
Thesis topic: Investigating the flow of electrical ideas through the instruments of their discovery, 1800–1850
Research interests: 19th-century physics; scientific instruments; museums; material culture; field sciences and exploration, particularly in the polar regions.


  • 2015 - present, Museum Curator, The Polar Museum
  • 2019 - present, Chair, University of Cambridge Museums Steering Group
  • 2018 - 2019, Deputy Chair, University of Cambridge Museums Steering Group
  • 2018 - 2019, Trustee, Museum of Cambridge
  • 2012 - 2014, Content Developer for Information Age, the Science Museum
  • 2010 - 2012, Assistant Curator of Computing and Communication, the Science Museum


  • 2010 MSc Museum Studies
  • 2008 BSc History and Philosophy of Science

Awards and Affiliations



One of the questions Charlotte's doctoral research asks is how recreating the use of historic scientific instruments, such as those held in museum collections, can help historians and museum visitors to gain better insight into scientific ideas and processes. Charlotte is also interested in the role that visitor participation can play in the development of compelling museum displays.




  • Connelly, C. and Warrior, C., 2019. Survey stories in the history of British polar exploration: museums, objects and people. Notes and Records the Royal Society Journal of the History of Science, v. 73, p.20180038-. doi:10.1098/rsnr.2018.0038.



  • Kavanagh, J., McSweeney, K., Naula, D. and Connelly, C., 2014. Journey into participation: a viewpoint from the Science Museum, London. Participation Now.

Book chapters

  • Chang, H. and Connelly, C., 2019. Galvanometers and the Many Lives of Scientific Instruments, in The Whipple Museum of the History of Science: Objects and Investigations, to Celebrate the 75th Anniversary of R. S. Whipple's Gift to the University of Cambridge, Cambridge University Press. art. 7, doi:10.1017/9781108633628.
  • Connelly, C., 2019. Climate Hack: Rapid Prototyping New Displays in Multi-disciplinary Museums, in Addressing the Challenges in Communicating Climate Change Across Various Audiences. p.517-530. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-98294-6_31.
  • Connelly, C., 2019. A Tour of the Northwest Passage, in Culture and Climate Change: Scenarios, Shed.
  • Connelly, C.E., 2014. The Cell; The Broadcast, in Blyth, T. (ed.) Information Age Six Networks That Changed Our World, Scala Arts Publishers Incorporated.