Tickets for the Science and Industry Museum, one of Manchester’s top attractions, are available from today (31 July), two weeks ahead of its reopening on Friday 14 August and in time for the summer holidays.
The new system of free, timed ticketed admission has been introduced to ensure visitors have a safe, enjoyable and fun experience exploring 250 years of innovations and ideas that started life in Manchester and went on to change the world.
Free tickets can be booked at www.scienceandindustrymuseum.org.uk/visit or by calling 0800 047 8124.
The museum has also revealed more details about what visitors can expect when its doors reopen. New Science Stops will be in place, where expert Explainers (who have recently entertained the nation under lockdown on BBC Bitesize Daily) will be on hand to ignite curiosity and reveal wonder.
The Science Stops will unravel some fun scientific secrets during a series of short experiments and conversations, including how cotton is transformed from a fluffy fibre into a strong material, and exactly what happens to our bodies in space.
During weekdays, the Textiles Pit, which is located in the popular Textiles Gallery and houses original machinery from Manchester’s 19th-century mills, will also be a hive of activity as the team refresh their skills and maintain the historic machines.
Initially, the museum is focusing on bringing the galleries in its New Warehouse building back to life. This includes the Revolution Manchester Gallery, where the city’s rich legacy of world-changing innovations, discoveries and ideas are on display.
Visitors can see a replica of Baby, the world’s first stored-program computer that was built at the University of Manchester.
The replica is created from many of the original machine’s parts, and with the original no longer in existence, this is the closest people can get to an important piece of computing history. This gallery is also home to one of the earliest Rolls-Royce motorcars that once belonged to Henry Royce himself.
Find out why Manchester came to be dubbed ‘Cottonopolis’ in the 19th century by exploring the Textiles Gallery, which tells the story of how cotton transformed the city into an industrial powerhouse.
Not to be missed is Arkwright’s water frame, a 250-year-old piece of machinery which changed the future of manufacturing and enabled machine-powered, factory-based mass production, which started here in Manchester.
The Experiment Gallery, a favourite among family visitors, will also reopen. Science will be brought to life through a series of interactive exhibits.
Find out what it takes to lift a Mini off the ground using just your strength and a set of gears, discover how many colours you can create with light in the Colour Mixer experiment and see how the thickness of a liquid changes the way air bubbles look and move in the Viscosity of Liquids interactive.
The museum will be introducing increased cleaning regimes and additional control measures around the interactive exhibitions to ensure safety.
The museum’s blockbuster temporary exhibition The Sun, will be also available to explore for free. From ancient myths to health and wellbeing, solar power and more, this exhibition takes a closer look at our ever-changing relationship with our closest star.
The Science and Industry Museum is currently undergoing a multi-million-pound renovation project. This will see a new £5million Special Exhibition Gallery open early next year to originate and host the world’s best science exhibitions.
Its much-loved Power Hall is also being renovated, and improvement works are currently being made to the historic 1830s Station and Warehouse, the world’s first passenger railway station and the oldest existing railway goods warehouse respectively.
These areas will remain closed until works are complete. The scale of the works can be appreciated from the outdoor Upper Yard, where visitors can take in views across the internationally significant site and the city more widely.
The museum’s Air and Space Hall, home to a collection of planes, cars and bikes, will also reopen later in the autumn.
Sally MacDonald, Director at the Science and Industry Museum, said: “We’re very excited to welcome visitors back to the museum safely. The new measures of asking people to book free, timed tickets and follow guided routes will ensure social distancing while guaranteeing everyone can see
and enjoy everything on offer. Our Science Stops are also a different way of giving people exciting insights into our collection and the stories it tells.
“The museum is home to ideas that changed the world, and exploring the impact of people whose skills, ideas and dedication continue to influence science and technology has never been more relevant.
Our story, and those we tell through our collection, are inextricably linked to Manchester and its unique role in shaping the modern world. We’re ready to play a key part in getting the city back on its feet as a leading destination for culture and heritage.”
The museum shop and café will also be open, with every purchase supporting the museum and its vital work.
A series of major special exhibitions and a climate themed Manchester Science Festival will return from February 2021, with booking information and dates to be announced this autumn.
While the museum looks forward to opening its doors to visitors once again, its collection—and the inspirational stories it contains—remain open online to inspire those who are unable to travel.
Sally Macdonald, Director of the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester, said: “The safety of our visitors and colleagues is our top priority, and the announcement of these restrictions underlines the importance of the comprehensive safety measures we have already put in place ahead of reopening.