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National Science and Media Museum to celebrate a century of broadcasting with new summer exhibition

  •  A major new summer exhibition, Switched On, opens on 23 July at Bradford’s National Science and Media Museum
  • Switched On will take visitors on a journey through the last century of broadcasting, discovering the pioneers who spearheaded the industry and the broadcasting innovations that have reflected and changed everyday life
  • A special family day event will take place at the museum on 30 July
  • Free tickets can be booked now via the National Science and Media Museum website

The National Science and Media Museum is set to launch a new major exhibition this summer, celebrating the last 100 years of broadcasting and the innovations that have shaped everyday life.  

Opening on 23 July,  Switched On will take visitors on a journey from the first radio microphones to the invention of colour television and the rise of on-demand video and streaming services. The exhibition will examine the industry through 14 pioneers linked with broadcasting innovations who have forced the industry to adapt, improve and make room for more voices. Visitors will learn about influential trailblazers like David Attenborough who led the introduction of colour on BBC2 or Delia Derbyshire, who created the Doctor Who theme tune in 1963, marking the first television tune made purely from electronic sound, among many others.  

Visitors will also be able to experience first-hand the last century of broadcasting innovations through six interactives including a live camera feed that will show the evolution of television displays over time.  

To celebrate the exhibition and the start of the summer holidays, a special family day will be taking place at the museum on 30 July. The family event will mark major broadcasting milestones with family-friendly activities including learning about broadcasting pioneer David Attenborough, through interactive storytelling, along with hands-on opportunities to try out being a camera operator or broadcasting a radio programme. 

Lewis Pollard, Curator of Television and Broadcast at the National Science and Media Museum commented: “We’re incredibly excited to be taking part in the celebrations of the BBC’s centenary and shining a spotlight on the significant pioneers who have influenced and shaped the industry, with our new exhibition Switched On.  
Our museum tells the stories of sound and image technologies and their impact on our lives, and many of our objects would not be possible without the achievements of broadcasters like the BBC and the trailblazers who have continued to push the boundaries over the last 100 years.”  

Switched On is part of Broadcast 100, a bumper year of exhibitions, special displays, events and digital content across the Science Museum Group to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the BBC and the 40th anniversary of Channel 4.  

The Science Museum Group has also digitised 1,000 new objects from the BBC Heritage Collection to continue to tell the stories of the broadcaster. Featuring newly digitised objects alongside archival images and films, the National Science and Media Museum has launched new online stories on its website. These stories cover diverse topics from the history of broadcasting, including the history of children’s television, women in broadcasting, and the invention of television. 

The Broadcast 100 programme is supported by the People’s Postcode Lottery.  

Switched On is supported by the Screen Industries Growth Network (SIGN), using public funding from Research England, part of UK Research and Innovation. SIGN is based at the University of York.  

Notes to Editors: 

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About the National Science and Media Museum

The National Science and Media Museum in Bradford, West Yorkshire, opened in 1983, and has since become one of the most visited UK museums outside London. It draws on more than three million objects from its national collection to explore the science and culture of image and sound technologies, and their impact on our lives.  
The Museum creates special exhibitions, interactive galleries and activities for families and adults, and is home to three cinemas, including Europe’s first IMAX cinema screen and the world’s only remaining public Cinerama screen. Entry to the Museum is free.

About the Science Museum Group

The Science Museum Group is the world’s leading group of science museums, welcoming over five million visitors each year to five sites: the Science Museum in London; the National Railway Museum in York; the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester; the National Science and Media Museum in Bradford; and Locomotion in Shildon. We share the stories of innovations and people that shaped our world and are transforming the future, constantly reinterpreting our astonishingly diverse collection of 7.3 million items spanning science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine. Standout objects include the record-breaking locomotive Flying Scotsman, Richard Arkwright’s textile machinery, Alan Turing’s Pilot ACE computer and the earliest surviving recording of British television. Our mission is to inspire futures - igniting curiosity among people of all ages and backgrounds. Each year, our museums attract more than 600,000 visits by education groups, while our touring exhibition programme brings our creativity and scholarship to audiences across the globe. 

People's Postcode Lottery

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About the Screen Industries Growth Network (SIGN)

The Screen Industries Growth Network (SIGN) is a unique, business-facing initiative supporting the TV, film and games industries in Yorkshire and the Humber. SIGN aims to make this region the UK’s centre for digital creativity, and a model of diverse and inclusive activity. In order to do this, SIGN connects companies, support agencies and universities through a programme of training, business development, research and evaluation. SIGN is based at the University of York.

Part of the Science Museum Group