THE wait is over as the new name of Bradford’s National Media Museum and the contents of its “world-class” interactive gallery are finally revealed.

The venue is to become the National Science and Media Museum to reflect its new focus on the ‘science behind the magic of photography, film and television’, bosses are announcing today.

The museum has also finally unveiled details of the high-tech interactive exhibits in the museum’s new £1.8m Wonderlab gallery, opening to the public later this month.

And bosses have announced the spacecraft which carried astronaut Tim Peake back to earth will be coming to Bradford later this year.

Speaking to the Telegraph & Argus yesterday, museum director Jo Quinton-Tulloch said the new name had been the “obvious choice” for the venue when they had considered possible options.

She said retaining the word ‘national’ in the title had been “incredibly important, not just for me personally but to the group as well”.

She said: “We recognised also the strength of feeling of the people of Bradford and how significant it is for Bradford and Yorkshire to have a national museum.

“So it was never in any question, as we went through all of the work to think about the options for the name.”

Prominent local figures welcomed the new name and the exhibit announcements.

Bradford Council leader, Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, said: “This is exciting news for the city and the district and it’s one in a series of developments which confirm Bradford’s resurgence.”

David Wilson, director of Bradford City of Film, said the museum had “desperately” needed a new exhibition to attract a modern audience.

He said: “It’s really, really good news for Bradford, I think.

“I can’t see a negative in it to be honest and the fact they are explaining it as the science behind the magic of photography, film and television, is great.

“I’m so pleased that film and television are still a key part of what they will be exploring and what they will be celebrating.”


Councillor Simon Cooke, leader of the Conservatives on Bradford Council and an outspoken critic of the Science Museum Group’s decision last year to move a major photography collection to London, also welcomed the latest announcements.

He said he believed there had been a real risk that the museum’s national status could have been lost.

He said: “That was always one of the big concerns, that we would end up with Science Museum North or something like that.”

Sir Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “Wonderlab has the potential to blow minds of all ages and with the arrival of Tim Peake’s spacecraft later in the year the museum has all the ingredients to entice visitors from all over the country and beyond.”

The Wonderlab gallery will have its opening family weekend on March 25 and 26.

Ms Quinton-Tulloch said the gallery would be on another level from anything people had seen at the museum before.

She said they anticipated it would bring a significant boost to their visitor numbers, particularly by attracting families and school groups, but said it would also appeal to an older audience.

She said: “We know from other museums that interactive galleries are incredibly, incredibly popular and we wanted a world-class interactive gallery that would provide the same class of experience.”

Visitors will be able to see their body split from their head as they walk past the UK’s first permanent ‘Time Twister’ screen, hear their voice echo through a 15m-long tube, experience an anti-gravity mirror and a musical laser tunnel, as well as watch one of the world’s first 3D-printed zoetropes - a pre-film animation device.

Immersive live shows will be held in a new 70-capacity theatre, where visitors can take part in experiments such as recreating the sound of a thunderstorm.

Lorna Williams, head of content for Wonderlab, said: “The exhibit we’ve dubbed Time Twister is really cool - at first glance this looks like a real time reflection of yourself, a life size projection on the wall of your image from a camera.

“But as you start to move you notice something strange, your image begins to get stretched or twisted around.

“That’s because what you can’t see is that there’s a hidden computer with software that adds a short delay between each line of the image.”

She said there would also be a bright pink, 15m echo tube, adding: “Our waterfall has a twist too. Behind the streams of water are flashing lights, which create an effect similar to a strobe.

“As you adjust the speed of the water, it looks like the water drops are paused in mid-air, or even begin to travel upwards. This is an optical illusion and a great game to play.

“Other exhibits will include capturing an image faster than you can blink and if you get it right, your face will appear on a water drop splash which looks really cool.”

Later this year, the museum will be welcoming 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.