We were looking for somewhere to got that we’d never been to before. We’d felt like we’d visited all the FREE stuff in the Newcastle area many times over. It was North East Family Fun that suggested the Science and Media Museum in Bradford as they’d had a great day out there. So we chewed it over and decided that the 2-hour drive wasn’t really that far in the scheme of things. OUr car is relatively economic so the fuel wouldn’t cost much, plus the Media Museum is Free to enter.
We’d had a quick look on the official website to see what was there. Being a Media museum the focus is more popular culture than dusty artefacts. Exhibits focusing on Television, Computer Games, Animation and Photography persuaded our two to give it a go.
Wonderlab at the Science and Media Museum.
Just like the Science Museum in London, there is a fun interactive Science zone called Wonderlab. Unlike the London version though is that this is FREE to visit.
To give you a flavour of what is on offer inside here is our Video vlog of the Museum.
Our Hoopsters had a blast getting lost in the mirror maze.
Shouting into the echo chamber (pink pipe).
Learning how vibration creates sounds. This experiment Abigail is biting onto is a vibrating metal rod. The paper straw is there for hygiene purposes. The idea was to see if you could hear the music being played as it vibrated through your teeth and jaw!
It’s also amazing how much fun you can get out of a large mirror wall.
Several times a day a science explainer hosts a live demonstration/talk in the Wonderlab Theatre. These happen several times through out the day. Our topic was “Bring The Thunder (Exploring Sound)”.
Surprisingly the experiments and demonstrations through the presentation were quite visual and interactive. Showing how sound waves move through the air. What happens where you alter the way a sound is formed. And finally bringing the room together to create an enormous Thunderstorm.
We spent at least an hour and a half in the Wonderlab Exhibit, before we went on to the other galleries.
We ventured on to one of the permanent exhibits here, The Animation Gallery. Here there are models and drawings/cells from over 100 animations.
This was quite a fun gallery as many of the animations the kids knew. For us as adults the animations were as relevant to us too. Reminiscing about Morph or the Wombles!
The kids liked the Scene from Wallace and Grommit’s The Wrong Trousers.
Experience TV Gallery
Our next gallery looked at the impact TV has had on our lives over time. There’s no denying the fact that what had once been a novelty in the corner of the room became the focus of an evenings entertainment. It’s only recently that we’ve managed to break out of being controlled to follow a broadcasted timetable. On demand streaming services will be the next addition to this gallery I’m sure.
Can you remember watching Rainbow? It was cute seeing Zippy and George on display here. It brought back so many memories of the show. Whatever happened to Rod, Jane and Freddy??
Then we spotted Gordon the Gopher. Gordon the Gopher used to squeak around The Broom Cupboard on CBBC with Phillip Schofield. What is a simple puppet captured the imagination of the nation.
The little clothes behind hime were made and sent in from fans around the country. Nana’s used to knit him sweaters and send them in to the show. You don’t see that sort of dedication now.
Another case held a display of Thunderbirds. It’s only when you see them in real life that you realise how big they actually are.
The Games Lounge looked at Retro gaming through to “modern” games. As the gaming industry is moving so fast, it would be hard to keep this totally up to date with the latest phase.
You’ll find old gaming systems such as a ZX Spectrum playing Manic Miner. Golden eye on the N64 caught my eye as one of the first multi player POV games. All the consoles are FREE to play on, but as a result were quite busy.
Also in the room is a handful of old arcade machines. Space Invader, Galaxian, Frogger, Donkey kong and not forgetting Street Fighter. These arcade machines were pay per go and are surprisingly harder than I remember.
We Also went down in the basement of the museum to see the Kodak Gallery. This was also an interesting exhibit looking at photography and cameras through the ages. The gallery is divided into themed sections and it is dome in great detail. Visit and old photographers studio, with natural lighting for exposure. The creaky wooden flooring is a great touch in here.
Being able to explain that photography hasn’t always been digital and you used to have to buy film to take photos was hard. Our modern world would be so different if we hadn’t moved to the digital world though. I remember being on holiday taking 24 photos and hoping to have “some” good photos to keep after they’d been developed.
We’d been in the Science and Media Museum around two and a half hours, before Imogen started to get tired. Most parents will know this moment, when the fun times turn into done times! It was time to grab a bite to eat.
We spent quite a lot of time here for a FREE museum and I’m sure we skimmed over some of the galleries I’ve not mentioned. It was definitely a good recommendation as we all enjoyed the day out. Bradford has quite a lot on offer in the town centre and we were pleasantly surprised.
Address: Pictureville, Bradford BD1 1NQ
Opening Hours: Open daily 10.00–18.00
There is also an IMAX cinema here where you can see the latest films. On our visit, they were showing Avengers: Endgame.