The Science and Industry Museum celebrated yesterday (Wednesday 19 May) when the first visitors since November 2020 were welcomed through its doors.
Those eager to explore Manchester’s heritage of ideas that change the world headed back to one of the city’s most popular museums, where they were met with many of its best-loved exhibits as well as brand new experiences.
Visitors got straight back to exploring Manchester’s rich legacy of innovations, discoveries and ideas that change the world in the Revolution Manchester Gallery. They also uncovered how cotton transformed the city into an industrial powerhouse in the Textiles Gallery, and saw science being brought to life in the interactive, family-favourite Experiment Gallery.
For the time first time, audiences could also visit the museum’s new £5m Special Exhibitions Gallery and explore the blockbuster exhibition being hosted inside.
Top Secret: From ciphers to cyber security explores communications intelligence and cyber security over the course of 100 years through a collection of extraordinary objects, interactive puzzles and first-person interviews.
It has been curated by the Science Museum Group with the help of expert advisors at GCHQ – the UK’s intelligence and cyber agency – and reveals more than 100 objects from their historic collections. For the first time during its run in Manchester, these include objects relating to Alan Turing and his connections to the city and the development of computing.
The exhibition also offers the opportunity to look into the future of cyber security, hear from those currently working at GCHQ and put into practice visitors’ own problem-solving skills in an interactive puzzle zone.
Admission tickets for both the museum and Top Secret are free but must be booked in advance by visiting http://www.scienceandindustrymuseum.org.uk or calling 033 0058 0058. Tickets are proving popular and with some days filling up fast, early booking is recommended.
Yesterday was the first time the public have returned to the museum since its doors closed on Wednesday 4 November 2020 in line with Government restrictions. During the closure, work has progressed on a multi-million-pound restoration project.
As well as the now-complete Special Exhibitions Gallery, the much-loved Power Hall is 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, and the historic Air and Space Hall is also currently closed due to essential maintenance and conservation work, but there is still plenty to do see and enjoy.
Sally MacDonald, Director of the Science and Industry Museum, said: “After 28 weeks of closure, we are so excited to have visitors back inside the building. We’ve had great response to ticket bookings, which shows just how much people have missed the experiences we offer.
“It’s especially exciting to be offering people a brand-new experience by visiting our Special Exhibitions Gallery and exploring Top Secret, which is a fantastic exhibition for the whole family to enjoy.”
A safe and enjoyable experience is the museum’s top priority. Visitors are being asked to observe social distancing, wear face coverings, follow one-way routes and book tickets for both entry to the museum and exhibition in advance so that visitor capacity can be managed.
The museum will be open from Wednesday – Sunday, 10am – 5pm. However, it will be open every day during half term (Saturday 29 May – Sunday 6 June).
Following its run in Manchester, Top Secret: From ciphers to cyber security will tour to the National Science and Media Museum in Bradford in 2022. The exhibition is supported by principal funder DCMS and principal sponsor Raytheon, with media partner The Telegraph.