A new interactive £1.8m gallery featuring a series of UK firsts and spectacular live experiments has launched at a national museum in Yorkshire.
Featuring permanent exhibits, including some not available anywhere else in the world, Wonderlab will explore the science of light, sound and perception through state-of-the-art, hands-on activities and breath-taking shows at the newly renamed National Science and Media Museum.
Visitors will be able to turn their entire body into a corkscrew on a giant screen, grab a unique selfie showing their face through a drop of water, shout into a colossal echo tube the length of an articulated lorry, listen to music through their teeth and make a waterfall appear to hover in mid-air.
Wonderlab visitors will get to try more than 20 mind-blowing permanent exhibits from this weekend, including:
- UK’s first permanent Time Twister screen, which twists and separates your body
- The world’s first permanent 3D-printed zoetrope, made by Japanese artist Akinori Goto
- Selfies timed to the exact moment a water drop splashes
- A 6ft sphere with spectacular recordings of the surface of the sun and earth
- Sound Bite: listen to music—through your teeth
- A giant 15m long pink echo tube
- An 8ft tall mirror maze
- Good Vibrations—feel sound through your entire body
- A musical laser tunnel entrance
The free-entry museum and Wonderlab gallery will host a major public launch this weekend—25–26 March 2017—with activities and events. It is recommended slots to visit Wonderlab are booked in advance online.
Jo Quinton-Tulloch, Museum Director, said:
“The future for our museum is incredibly exciting and I know Wonderlab will amaze visitors young and old, as it has us. The zoetrope is a favourite of mine—I’ve never seen anything like it and everyone stops to watch it again and again—it’s genuinely hypnotic.
“Wonderlab is a sign of things to come at the National Science and Media Museum, showing our ambition to be one of the UK’s and the world’s leading museums, and I hope that visitors will agree it’s pretty spectacular.
“We want to inspire visitors new and old—for people to return and enjoy their experiences here again and see what else we have to offer. I know people often talk about fond memories of the museum, like the magic carpet ride, and I think people will have the same affection for Wonderlab in the months and years to come.”
Culture Minister Lord Ashton of Hyde said:
"The new Wonderlab gallery is the culmination of two years of hard work, creativity and planning and I am delighted that the government has supported this fantastic project. This investment signals a very bright future for the National Science and Media Museum and I am sure Wonderlab will be a huge hit for visitors from home and abroad."
Wonderlab will also feature two jaw-dropping live shows in the new 70-capacity theatre—Light It Up! and Bring the Thunder. These advance booking shows are free to schools (and link to key stage 2 and 3) throughout the week and visitors at weekends.
Light It Up! lets groups learn how to take a picture of the universe, and uncover the hidden secrets of Egyptian tombs. Bring the Thunder sees groups create an indoor thunderstorm, shoot sound across the room using giant cannon-drums, and even have a Star Wars-inspired sound battle.
Ms Quinton-Tulloch added:
“The live science shows are spectacular! They’ll appeal to school groups as well as families, and our aim is to give visitors an experience they won’t get anywhere else. We want to inspire the next generation of scientists and innovators, or simply open people’s eyes to the world around them so they literally see it in a new light. Whether you love the history of photography, film and television, or the science behind the magic, we are the place to experience it all.”
The Bradford-based museum has also confirmed it will host the world-famous Soyuz TMA-19M spacecraft that carried Major Tim Peake to the International Space Station (ISS) and back to earth. Visitors will be able to see the space-faring vessel this September when it travels outside London for the first time since it was acquired by the Science Museum Group in 2016.
Entry to the new gallery and entire museum remains free.