The National Science and Media Museum in Bradford has announced it will temporarily close in June as it carries out its a £6 million capital project, ‘Sound and Vision’.
The project, set to be delivered by December 2024, is expected to create two significant new galleries and increase the museum’s overall accessibility and relevance to key audiences. The project’s completion is timed to coincide with activities and increased visitor numbers during Bradford City of Culture in 2025.
The galleries, accompanied by an engaging activity programme, will showcase key objects and stories from the museum’s collections of photography, film, television, animation, video games and sound technologies.
Initial funding comes from The National Lottery Heritage Fund to develop the plans. The project also has support from the DCMS/Wolfson Museums and Galleries Improvement Fund 2022-24 and Bradford Metropolitan District Council.
During the closure period the museum’s Pictureville Cinema and Bar will continue to operate, open seven days a week with an enhanced programme, as this has separate entrance arrangements and facilities.
The development will involve the complete remodelling of two floors of the building, opening up unused spaces and reimagining the display and interpretation of the core collections.
In addition to the new galleries, the project will see the ground floor of the museum reconfigured, creating a new public space and an enhanced visitor welcome.
The installation of an additional passenger lift and the renovation of the existing lift is hoped to increase accessibility and enable all visitors to move around the building with ease.
The museum said the resulting displays and interpretation will be informed by close consultation with local communities, and will “ensure the museum’s position as a cultural cornerstone when Bradford becomes City of Culture in 2025 and will align with ambitions to harness young audiences and foster new creative opportunities across the district.”
During the temporary closure period the museum will carry out outreach activities with community groups and schools– in person and online – to enable audiences to stay in touch and track progress.
The existing displays on levels three and five of the museum will gradually be removed from the beginning of February. Wonderlab, the Kodak Gallery, Games Lounge and temporary exhibition space will remain open until the summer, with a public programme culminating in Bradford Science Festival 24 May – 4 June.
Jo Quinton-Tulloch, the museum’s Director said the new galleries will offer visitors “stories that resonate with them, showing how all areas of our collections – from photography to gaming – are embedded in every aspect of our lives, and inspiring the next generation of creatives, inventors and scientists.
“The new permanent displays on levels three and five and the enhanced public space in our new foyer will future proof Bradford’s national museum for decades to come.”
Anne Jenkins, Executive Director of Business Delivery at The National Lottery Heritage Fund added: “the museum’s commitment to community engagement and skills development ensures that the Sound and Vision Project will have a lasting and meaningful impact.”