THE National Science and Media Museum has officially opened its £1.8 million new attraction.

The Wonderlab is a major interactive gallery based around light and sound.

Attractions include a mirror maze, a 15-metre echo tube and a musical laser tunnel, as well as the world’s first permanent 3D-printed zoetrope.

Today, former BBC and ITV boss Michael Grade was among the guests looking around the exhibition for the first time.

Lord Grade is a board member for the parent Science Museum Group and chairman of the National Science and Media Museum’s advisory board.

He said the museum had gone through a “near-death experience about three years ago” and when it was saved, they had decided it wasn’t enough just to keep it open.

He said: “There was a sense it was just a museum with exhibits. That’s fascinating, interesting, but not entirely relevant.

“Kids want interactivity today, we all do.

“So we have created something that’s fun, entertaining, informative, educational, but with a light touch.

“It’s a fabulous place to come.”

Lord Grade said the investment was a “massive, £2m vote of confidence in Bradford” and the new gallery would be a valuable resource for schools teaching the STEM subjects of science, technology, engineering and maths.

Today also marked the official re-naming of the museum, adding ‘science’ into its title.

Of the name change, Lord Grade said: “It says what it is really.

“We celebrate television, film and photography but we can also explain it and I think really shouting about the connection with the Science Museum Group is a big plus.

“The Science Museum brand is a really strong brand people respect and value.”

Schoolchildren have been getting a sneak peek at the gallery, ahead of its opening weekend.

Nine-year-old Reshaur Musgrave, a pupil at St Joseph’s Primary School in Bradford, said his favourite exhibit was the mirror maze.

Fellow pupil Ayomide Dauda, also nine, said she now had “magic hands”, thanks to ink which only showed up in a UV light room.

She said the light also made her red-and-white uniform look different.

“The white is really bright and my top is orange.”

Museum director Jo Quinton-Tulloch said the day was “the culmination of a huge amount of work that has been going on over the last three years”.

She said: “It makes it all worthwhile when you see the wonder on their faces, and the inspiration.”

And she said there were more developments in the pipeline, as they were now looking to fundraise about £5m to develop “some new, permanent galleries which celebrate our collections”.

Wonderlab’s curator, Lorna Williams, said it was great to see it finally opening.

She said: “All that time looking at spreadsheets, sitting at your desk going through the planning stages – to now see it materialise and see people enjoying it, it is fantastic.”

She said her favourite exhibit was the Sound Bite, in which people can only hear sounds by biting down on a metal prong.

She said the most expensive was the 6ft sphere showing recordings of the surface of the sun, Earth or other planets, which serves as the gallery’s centrepiece.

Staff are gearing up for a busy opening weekend, when the public will get their first chance to visit the gallery.

Entry is free but people are being urged to book slots online to beat the queues.

There will also be a range of events going on throughout the museum, from 3D portraits to a robot orchestra.