National Railway Museum Opens Wonderlab: The Bramall Gallery

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The National Railway Museum’s largest new gallery in more than a decade has opened to the public today after five years in development.

Tuesday 25th July 2023 Picture Credit Charlotte Graham Picture Shows The opening of Wonderlab The Bramall Gallery at National Railway Museum, as a space where children and adults can learn about Science and invention The giant inflatable sculpture called Mass (most be a highlight and it’s being unveiled for the first time) Children on the play cubes – Play Revolution The Science Demo bar (we may not have the really interesting shows with things explosions taking place for health and safety reasons) The human wind tunnel Balcony shot over the whole place Great machine – balls transported around a big mechanical machine

Named Wonderlab: The Bramall Gallery, it features 18 exciting hands-on interactive exhibits which aim to inspire and spark curiosity in visitors around the themes of railways and engineering.

Aimed at families with children aged 7-14 and school groups, the gallery is housed in the museum’s 1,500m2 former locomotive workshop building next to Great Hall.

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Alongside the interactives, visitors will also be able to see live science shows and demonstrations inside the Weston Showspace and at a demonstration bar.

Picture to be credited to the National Railway Museum. Press photocall for launch of new Wonderlab: The Bramall Gallery, which is a ground-breaking interactive gallery exploring the how, what and why that underpin the creation of the railways. National Railway Museum, York

Judith McNicol, Director of the National Railway Museum, said: “Wonderlab: The Bramall Gallery represents the first area of the museum to undergo significant changes as part of our Vision 2025 masterplan and the result is a fantastic new interactive gallery that is a real asset for visitors and the city.

Tuesday 25th July 2023 Picture Credit Charlotte Graham Picture Shows The opening of Wonderlab The Bramall Gallery at National Railway Museum, as a space where children and adults can learn about Science and invention The giant inflatable sculpture called Mass (most be a highlight and it’s being unveiled for the first time) Children on the play cubes – Play Revolution The Science Demo bar (we may not have the really interesting shows with things explosions taking place for health and safety reasons) The human wind tunnel Balcony shot over the whole place Great machine – balls transported around a big mechanical machine

“The gallery was developed in partnership with the rail industry and other experts and we have listened to visitor feedback about the need for more interactive, hands-on experiences. We want to ensure that children have great fun while developing a spark of interest in engineering that will contribute towards tackling the UK’s shortage in STEM skills*.”

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The opening day will also see the unveiling of a dramatic new permanent artwork by Steve Messam and visitors will also be able to build and design large scale structures like bridges and towers in Pippa Hale’s ‘Play Revolution’.

Visitors will be able to see a live science show as part of the general entry ticket to Wonderlab. Fire Powered, an explosive and dramatic show will demonstrate how (safe) explosions can be created and controlled to make an engine work. Families and children can also get up close to exciting and unusual explainer-led experiments at the Demo Bar that explore railway engineering.

Wonderlab has been designed by architects De Matos Ryan who previously worked on the newly reopened Young V&A in London.

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The launch of Wonderlab will create a significant new attraction for families visiting York and for family residents of the city. The museum has seen an increase in visitor numbers following the Covid-19 pandemic with 572,577 visits in 2022, making it the most-visited free attraction in the region (Visit Britain**).

The 18 exhibits focus on different elements of railways and engineering and encourage people to think like engineers and develop skills as they design, build and test to produce different outcomes.

Among highlights are ‘Feel the Force’ where visitors can enter a giant wind tunnel to learn about streamlining and ‘The Great Machine’ which encourages people to solve problems and create their own transport network to move balls through a sequence of connecting tubes. (***for a full list of exhibits see link below).

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The process of testing and prototyping to create the exhibits has involved more than 1,300 people with input from experts in the rail industry, education, local community groups and members of the public.

The gallery’s major funding partner is the Liz and Terry Bramall Foundation who have supported with a gift of £2.5m towards its creation in March 2022. 

Wonderlab has also received funding from Garfield Weston Foundation, Eversholt Rail, Friends of the National Railway Museum, the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851, The Holbeck Charitable Trust, the Kirby Laing Foundation, and the Charles and Elsie Sykes Trust.

To find out more about Vision 2025 and to book tickets for Wonderlab: The Bramall Gallery, visit: www.railwaymuseum.org.uk/2025/wonderlab-the-bramall-gallery  

Tuesday 25th July 2023 Picture Credit Charlotte Graham Picture Shows The opening of Wonderlab The Bramall Gallery at National Railway Museum, as a space where children and adults can learn about Science and invention The giant inflatable sculpture called Mass (most be a highlight and itÕs being unveiled for the first time) Children on the play cubes Ð Play Revolution The Science Demo bar (we may not have the really interesting shows with things explosions taking place for health and safety reasons) The human wind tunnel Balcony shot over the whole place Great machine Ð balls transported around a big mechanical machine

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