Frankenstein: Science and Inspiration

Session details


Museum based or Online Virtual Classroom

Curriculum Links
Science and society
 English literature

Key Stages 4 & 5
Suitable for Years 10 & 11 and Years 12 & 13 (post-16)

Length of session
 75-90 minutes (museum), 50 minutes (online)

Maximum group size
5 students (museum) or single class (online)


In this session students will:


  • Discover the scientific background to the novel Frankenstein
  • Find out how Enlightenment thinking inspired ideas in the novel
  • Explore scientific objects and images from the Museum’s collection


In this participative workshop we will explore the scientific background and inspiration behind Mary Shelley's famous novel Frankenstein.

Setting the novel in the context of science and the Enlightenment, we will investigate how Shelley harnesses a fascination with old forms of knowledge — such as alchemy and the occult — along with new discoveries in scientific fields such as chemistry and electricity in the late 1700s and early 1800s CE.

The session will involve discussion and quotations along with objects and images from the Museum's collection.

More resources

  Frankenstein Revisited resources from the Bodleian Libraries

  Frankenstein and Electricity video with Learning Producer Chris Parkin (7 minute watch)

Interested in this session online? Learn more about Virtual Classrooms