Think of London's Science Museum and images of the future probably come to mind; futuristic exhibitions depicting the world in a hundred years. But it's not all about looking ahead. Often the Science Museum is about enjoying the now, as well as appreciating what the past has given us.
Running from now until June 2012, the Science Museum is putting on a fascinating exhibition called Hidden Heroes - The Genius of Everyday Things. The temporary exhibition runs alongside several permanent displays at the museum, which I'll come to shortly.
The Science Museum describes Hidden Heroes as "an innovative new exhibition giving the spotlight to the miniature marvels we couldn't live without."
Artefacts include the things many of us might use every day (think zips, paper clips, egg cartons, ballpoint pens and tea bags). The exhibition invites us to pause for a moment to acknowledge the value of these everyday things - items that have changed the way many of us live our lives (I mean, how much time do you spend each day making cups of tea?).
These everyday 'miniature marvels' of the Hidden Heroes exhibition are displayed beside sketches drawn by their inventors when they were nothing more than simply an idea in someone's very creative mind. Patent specifications and advertisements relating to the inventions can also be viewed at the Hidden Heroes exhibition.
Dr Susan Mossman, materials science specialist at the Science Museum, says of the display: "At a time when celebrity is king, it gives all of us at the Science Museum enormous satisfaction to celebrate the truly uncelebrated and shine a light on a group of outstanding inventions and inventors, revealing the supposedly mundane to be nothing short of remarkable."
While a ticket is required to view the Hidden Heroes exhibition, there are some areas that are free, and also relate to the theme of 'everyday things'. The Secret Life of the Home, for example, is a permanent feature of the Science Museum and takes a close look at the development of everyday items found in most homes today - ones that many of us take for granted - such as the vacuum cleaner and microwave oven.
You can also marvel at how style and technology has changed over the years, and how they might develop in the future. There are plenty of interactive exhibits too, perfect for those who like to get hands-on.
Once you've had a good look around these exhibits, be sure to take some time to explore the rest of the Science Museum, most of which is free.
Where:Science Museum, Exhibition Road, South Kensington, London SW7 2DD
Cost:Some parts are free, though tickets are required for the Hidden Heroes section: Adults: £6; Conc: £3.50 (students and children); Family (1 Adult, 2 Children): £11; Family (2 Adults, 2 Children): £16