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National Science and Media Museum celebrates 40th anniversary with new film

The National Science and Media Museum celebrates its 40th birthday on 16 June 2023 with a new short film, showcasing favourite memories from the last four decades and looking towards the future. 

In the film, visitors, friends, staff and community members take a trip down memory lane, sharing their favourite moments at the museum, beloved objects and what the museum means to them, along with what the next 40 years might look like. From fond memories of first trips to the museum as children, to favourite objects and moments, the film reflects on the importance of the museum and its impact on people’s lives over the last four decades. 

Opened on 16 June 1983 as the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television, the museum has welcomed millions of visitors, telling the story of sound and image technologies, and their impact on our lives. From the world’s first photograph to Louis Le Prince’s ground-breaking work in film, as well as the cameras that captured the famous Cottingley Fairies photographs, and the millions of images from the Daily Herald Archive, once the world’s top selling newspaper, the museum tells the story of countless pioneering firsts. 

The museum is also home to three cinema screens, including Europe’s first IMAX which also opened in 1983. To Fly! a documentary made about the history of flight was the first film ever screened in the museum’s IMAX, and was the only film shown for 15 months.  

Memorable moments from the museum’s history include the iconic magic carpet; Pierce Brosnan flying in via helicopter to reopen the museum following a refurb in 1999; the launch of the first ever live broadcasting studio in a museum; Tim Peake’s spacecraft in the foyer, plus many more.  

Commenting on the monumental occasion, Jo Quinton-Tulloch, Director of the National Science and Media Museum said: “This year marks a special anniversary for us as the museum celebrates its 40th birthday in June, and it feels especially fitting as we enter an exciting new phase. Our new film not only celebrates and reflects on the last four decades, but also looks ahead to the future and the exciting things to come. The opening of our new Sound and Vision galleries will be truly transformational, and we hope to continue to inspire our next generation of visitors from Bradford and beyond.”  

The museum is currently temporarily closed to the public until summer 2024 as it undergoes a £6m once-in-a-generation transformation. Thanks to support from The National Lottery Heritage Fund and money raised by National Lottery players, the major Sound and Vision project will create two new galleries, an additional passenger lift and an enhanced foyer space. In addition to funding received from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, the project also has support from the DCMS/Wolfson Museums and Galleries Improvement Fund 2022-24, City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council, and the Science Museum Group, which the National Science and Media Museum is a part of.  

Helen Featherstone, Director, England, North at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, added: “We wish the National Science and Media Museum many happy returns as they celebrate their 40th birthday. We are delighted that we have been able to work with this museum over the years, investing over £14m of National Lottery Funding to support exciting heritage projects, that have created lots of wonderful memories for visitors the world over. 

“We are also thrilled to be supporting the museum’s journey beyond this momentous milestone and look forward to seeing the new Sound and Vision galleries, which are sure to provide inspiration or years to come.” 

For more information about the museum’s 40th birthday celebration and to watch the new film, visit our blog.

To send the museum a birthday gift, donate here.

Notes to Editors

The National Science and Media Museum is now temporarily closed to the public until summer 2024 to undergo major refurbishment. Pictureville Cinema and Bar will remain open 7 days a week. For more information and updates on re-opening, please visit or sign up for the museum’s newsletter.   
For more information, interviews or images, please contact Brittany Noppe, Senior Press Officer on or 01274 203356  
A media pack of hi-res archival images is available to download.
An mp4 of the film can be downloaded here.  
The Sound and Vision Project is generously supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council (Associate Funder), DCMS/Wolfson Museums and Galleries Improvement Fund (Associate Funder). 

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 National Lottery Heritage Fund

Using money raised by The National Lottery, we inspire, lead and resource the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future.
Follow @HeritageFundUK on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #NationalLotteryHeritageFund     
Since The National Lottery began in 1994, National Lottery players have raised over £43 billion for projects and more than 635,000 grants have been awarded across the UK. More than £30 million raised each week goes to good causes across the UK.