Information and discussion on all aspects of British photographic history
The National Science and Media Museum is about to undergo a radical and ‘once-in-a-generation’ transformation ready to inspire millions of visitors to Bradford City of Culture in 2025. Huge changes will be delivered by December 2024, through a £6 million capital project called ‘Sound and Vision’, including two new galleries, a new passenger lift and improvements to the main entrance.
To facilitate these works, the National Science and Media Museum has announced a period of temporary closure from June 2023 to summer 2024. The Sound and Vision Project will create two significant new galleries and increase the museum’s overall accessibility and relevance to key audiences.
The galleries, accompanied by an engaging activity programme, will showcase key objects and stories from the museum’s world-class collections of photography, film, television, animation, video games and sound technologies. Thanks to National Lottery players, the project has been awarded initial funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund to develop the transformational plans. The project also has support from the DCMS/Wolfson Museums and Galleries Improvement Fund 2022-24 and Bradford Metropolitan District Council.
When the museum opened in 1983, it was home to ‘the largest cinema screen in Britain’ and continues to run an IMAX and Pictureville Cinemas, which remains a big part of its visitor offer. During the closure period Pictureville Cinema and Bar will continue to operate, open seven days a week with an enhanced programme, as this has separate entrance arrangements and facilities.
The museum already provides many opportunities to learn about the principles of light and sound. It is at the forefront of STEM education and communication thanks to Wonderlab, its passionate team of Explainers, collaborative work with schools, plus festivals and events that bring the collections to life. The development of the new galleries will transform the heart of the museum, updating core collections displays to increase their relevance to local communities and deliver fully on the Science Museum Group’s mission to inspire futures and ambition to be open for all.
The existing displays on levels three and five of the museum will gradually be removed from the beginning of February, so visitors are invited to come and say a temporary farewell to their favourite objects in the coming weeks. Wonderlab, the Kodak Gallery, Games Lounge and temporary exhibition space will remain open until the summer, with a dynamic public programme culminating in Bradford Science Festival 24 May – 4 June.
In 2025, the city of Bradford expects to welcome visitors in unprecedented numbers. Thanks to this radical transformation, Bradford’s national museum will be a key attraction, inspiring wonder amongst audiences and ensuring its relevance for many years to come.
Jo Quinton-Tulloch, the museum’s Director said:
“This major investment in the museum will radically transform our visitor offer both in terms of content and accessibility. In the new galleries, visitors will be able to find stories that resonate with them, showing how all areas of our collections – from photography to gaming – are embedded in every aspect of our lives, and inspiring the next generation of creatives, inventors and scientists. During the period of museum closure, we look forward to welcoming cinema visitors and working with local residents to curate the new galleries.
With the additional lift and revamped foyer, we will be able to welcome many more visitors, which will be vital as we approach Bradford’s year as City of Culture in 2025. The new permanent displays on levels three and five and the enhanced public space in our new foyer will futureproof Bradford’s national museum for decades to come.”
Anne Jenkins, Executive Director of Business Delivery at The National Lottery Heritage Fund added:
“We are delighted to be supporting the National Science and Media Museum to develop their ambitious plans to transform their site and make this national and local treasure one of the star attractions for City of Culture 2025. In addition, the museum’s commitment to community engagement and skills development ensures that the Sound and Vision Project will have a lasting and meaningful impact.”
UPDATE 19 Jan 2023
The NS+MM and provided a statement on collection access:
We are committed to facilitating research, and wherever practicable, access to the collections. We are still working through detailed plans for the temporary closure period but we can reassure you that the collections certainly won’t be inaccessible for the full closure period. Please keep up to date via our website and social media channels, and feel free to check in again nearer to the closure date if you need to plan ahead. You can contact our collections team here: Access to our collection | National Science and Media Museum
Details of the Sound and Vision project can be seen here: https://www.scienceandmediamuseum.org.uk/about-us/sound-and-vision-...
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