Bradford's National Museum gets £1.8m rebrand and revamp

Bradford’s National Museum, is set to become the National Science and Media Museum to reflect its focus on the science behind the magic of photography, film and television, unveils its new gallery Wonderlab with an opening family weekend on the 25th and 26th March. Entry to the new gallery and entire museum will be free. 

The state-of-the-art £1.8m interactive gallery development welcomes the arrival of astronaut Tim Peake’s spacecraft among a series of major launches at the National Media Museum this year.

Featuring UK-firsts and breath-taking live shows, Wonderlab explores the science of light, sound and images through state-of-the-art exhibits – including some that can’t be seen permanently anywhere else in the world. Visitors will be able to see their body split from their head as they walk, hear their voice echo through a 15m-long tube, experience an anti-gravity mirror and a musical laser tunnel, as well as watch one of the world’s first 3D-printed Zoetrope installations.

The Bradford-based museum has also confirmed it will host the world-famous Soyuz TMA-19M spacecraft that carried Major Tim Peake to the International Space Station (ISS) and back to earth. Visitors will be able to see the space-faring vessel this September when it travels outside London for the first time since it was acquired by the Science Museum Group in 2016.

Jo Quinton-Tulloch, Museum Director, said:

“These announcements are not only incredibly exciting, but a significant statement of intent – that we are aiming to be one of the leading museums in the UK and worldwide. The museum has a bright future and we are confident people are going to be wowed by Wonderlab and the state-of-the-art exhibits within, along with many other events we have planned like the arrival of Tim Peake’s spacecraft."

“We want to draw in new visitors, encourage existing ones to come more often and open a whole new chapter for the museum. Our collections across the technology and culture of photography, film and TV are unrivalled, and Wonderlab explores the science behind what makes these things magical in a very hands-on way.”

Wonderlab visitors will get to try more than 20 mind-blowing, permanent exhibits including:

• UK’s first permanent ‘Time Twister’ screen, which separates head from body

• A waterfall that visitors appear to make hover in mid-air with their hands

• The world’s first permanent 3D-printed zoetrope by Japanese artist, Akinori Goto

• A 6ft sphere with spectacular animations of the sun and earth

• Self-portrait photos timed to the exact moment a water drop splashes

• A musical laser tunnel designed by Bradford-based artists Steve Manthorp and Shanaz Gulzar

Ms Quinton-Tulloch added:

“Changing our name to the National Science and Media Museum makes it clear what people can expect when they visit us and the plans we’re revealing fulfil that promise. It is the start of our long term strategy to look at our core subjects differently and inspire the filmmakers, photographers, scientists and engineers of the future. Ultimately, our aim is to take our place among the top international museums and build on our status as a key part of British, Yorkshire and Bradford tourism."

“The arrival of Tim Peake’s spacecraft is a huge coup for us – the first time it can be seen in the UK outside of London. It was at the centre of one of the biggest broadcast events of 2016 and will be yet another reason for people to visit the museum when it goes on display later in the year.”