Exploring the National Science & Media Museum in Bradford

After enjoying our visit to MediaCityUK in Salford we decided it was time to take a look around the National Science and Media Museum based in Bradford, West Yorkshire.   The museum is devoted to Film, Photography and Television and the science of light and sound, which is part of the National Science group.

The museum is also home to Yorkshire’s only IMAX 3D cinema and a Pictureville cinema is also on the site.  It’s a 10-15 minute walk from either of the two city’s railway stations and is clearly signposted.  The feature photo above shows the outside of the building and in the foreground, a statue of J.B.Priestley the Bradford born novelist and playwright can be seen.

Mirror Maze in the Wonderlab

The museum features several floors of galleries with exhibitions focusing on photography, television,  animation, video gaming, the internet and the scientific principles behind light and colour.

Stepping indoors, the foyer is light and airy with a shop, cafe and a gallery entitled  ‘Life online’.  As someone who perhaps spends rather a lot of her time online, this was definitely the place for me!   It’s the world’s first gallery dedicated to exploring the social, technological and cultural impact of the internet.

Cafe at the Science & Media Museum, Bradford

I found looking around this gallery totally captivating, spending quite some time there.  It tracks the history of the Internet from the first experimental messages to the rise of modern social networking.  Running beneath a glass walkway we were able to view a timeline demonstrating the evolution of the Internet and computer technology.

Early PC’s

The gallery is subdivided into four sections :  In the Beginning – The Internet is Born tracks the growth of the technical infrastructure that formed the Internet.  Into the World Goes Public then explores the early days of online communities from the first emails to the impact of the World Wide Web.  Moving on, we were introduced to Into our Lives – the Internet and You – this gallery brought us up-to-date with the onset of new eras of information sharing and finally Into the future examines prototype devices and new concepts being developed.

Cameras from the 1950’s

Upstairs, we visited the Magic Factory – a gallery filled with hands on exhibits to demonstrate the scientific principles of light and colour which helped us to understand the science between photography, film and television.

Sound tube in the Wonderlab

A new gallery, Wonderlab takes visitors on a journey exploring light and sound featuring 20 interactive exhibits.  This was my favourite part of the museum where I was able to hear my voice through a 15m long tube, travel through a laser tunnel and find my way through a maze of mirrors. – all such good fun.

City Park, Bradford

After enjoying our visit, we relaxed with cups of coffee in the Media Cafe before returning to the station.  The sun was shining for us as we walked through City Park, a six acre space in the heart of the city.  Children were having fun playing in the mirror pool which contains more than 100 fountains of differing heights.  The park opened in 2012 and has helped to transform and regenerate the city centre.

City Hall, Bradford

Dominating the square is the imposing Grade 1 City Hall, a Gothic masterpiece most notable for its landmark clock tower.  It opened in 1873 and its courtroom which is no longer used for legal cases is sometimes used for the filming of television soaps and dramas where a courtroom is required.

If you have enjoyed reading this post you may also be interested in the following:

Taking the BBC MediaCityUK tour

Salford Quays and MediaCityUK

A Ride on the Shipley Glen Cable Tramway

Leeds Heritage Trail: Marks & Spencer

Discovering waterside Leeds

Suggested accommodation in the surrounding area:

The Wheatley Arms, Ilkley

31 thoughts on “Exploring the National Science & Media Museum in Bradford

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      1. Shame, I used to enjoy trying out a bit of vision mixing, cutting between cameras on that brass band while my daughter flew off on the magic carpet. Still, a science and media museum need to keep up to date.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jo for your positive thoughts. It used to be the National Museum of Photography but it’s had a change of identity now so I thought it was worth taking a look. When the sun is shining everywhere looks so much more attractive doesn’t it!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I would have spent a lot of time in that museum. The explosion of the internet from just a connection between two or three remote points of geography has exploded. The power of the iPad gives you an office and research tool in hand not to mention video conferencing and just plain communication. We get instant news from around the world as we walk around. All because someone conceptualized the internet.

    Liked by 2 people

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