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Science and Media Museum

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Early Birds is a special event for families with children who have an Autism Spectrum Condition, an anxiety disorder, or a Special Educational Need that means they would benefit from a quieter, more relaxed museum opening.

The museum will open early—at 08.30—and will be available exclusively for our Early Birds guests until 10.00, when we open our doors to the general public.

Entry and activities are free. Early Birds visitors can also enjoy a film screening at reduced ticket prices.

What’s on at Early Birds: Space

Early Birds is a great way to explore the museum at a quiet time, away from the hustle and bustle of crowds.

This time, you’ll have a chance to see Soyuz TMA-19M: Tim Peake’s Spacecraft. This extraordinary spacecraft brought astronaut Tim Peake back home after his mission to the International Space Station in 2016. It’s spent six months orbiting Earth, travelled faster than the speed of sound, and survived temperatures of more than 1500ºC—can you see the burn marks on the surface?

Our Explainers will be on hand with fun space-themed games and activities. You can also enjoy our Supersenses exhibition and our newest gallery, Wonderlab—both are full of amazing sights and sounds. There will be a sensory play area in the Wonderlab Studio.

Our other galleries, including the BFI Mediatheque, will be open for families to explore and play with interactive exhibits.

The Kodak Gallery will have screens and sounds turned off to ensure a quieter space.

The Media Café will be opening early to serve breakfast.

After 10.00, families are of course welcome to stay and continue to enjoy their visit to the museum.

Film screening

As part of the event, there will be an Autism Friendly screening of WALL-E at 09.45 in Cubby Broccoli Cinema. Told with little dialogue, this beautiful animation is the story of one robot’s comic adventures as he chases his dream across the galaxy.

During this Autism Friendly Screening, low lights will be left on in the auditorium and the volume of the soundtrack will be reduced. It’s fine for you to move around, make noise or take a break during the film.

Tickets are available at the special reduced rate of £3. Buy your tickets at the box office on the day, or book online with Picturehouse.

Wheelchair users are asked to book in advance—call the Picturehouse box office on 0871 902 5756 or email

Useful information

Please be aware that the Tim Peake’s Spacecraft display is located in the museum foyer. The layout of the foyer area will be different from what you may have seen on previous visits, although all areas of the museum will still be accessible.

The museum staff working on the day have received training from Specialist Autism Services.

Our special access guide can help you prepare for your visit.

You can find more information about access and facilities at the museum on our accessibility page.