Forecast to open in 2018, the new gallery will breathe life into the lower end of the museum’s historic site. The investment by the Trust’s Capital Awards scheme will allow the museum to convert its 1830 buildings, a collection of three structures that includes the first ever railway warehouse and the oldest surviving passenger station, into a new venue for exhibitions that will inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers. It will showcase the very best contemporary science exhibitions, affirming Manchester’s growing reputation as a city of science.
With more than 90 per cent of the project now funded, the museum will commence its search in May for a design team with the imagination to create a gallery that meets the potential of the space. Director Sally MacDonald said: “This support from the Wellcome Trust means we can realise our ambition to become the northern home for cutting-edge, interactive contemporary science exhibitions, to inspire the scientists and inventors of tomorrow. We will be working closely with the Trust and other partners to create exhibitions that will launch in Manchester and then tour internationally, showcasing our collections, our historic site and the city’s vibrant scientific research.”
The new gallery aims to be an additional hub for other Wellcome Collection exhibitions in future, as well as having the space to develop and provide more biomedical content for the museum’s visitors. It is hoped this new exhibition space will shift the centre of gravity of the Science Museum Group towards the north and enable the Museum of Science & Industry to develop its own touring exhibitions from Manchester which will go on to tour to London and worldwide