Newcastle's Discovery Museum celebrates 75th anniversary

By Culture24 Staff | 09 June 2009
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a boat at sea

Turbinia. Picture © Discovery Museum

Newcastle's Discovery Museum will be celebrating its 75th anniversary on July 18 2009 with a range of free events.

Highlights planned include live music from the 1920s and 1930s, drop-in activities for children, behind the scenes tours and a new display on the history of the museum.

Visitors can enjoy displays all about life on Tyneside, from the region's renowned maritime history and world-changing science and technology right through to fashion through the eras and military history.

"It's hard to believe it's 75 years since the Municipal Museum of Science and Industry, which went on to become the discovery museum, opened in Exhibition park," said Curator Graham Bradshaw.

"It opened in July 1934 as a result of the hugely popular North East Coast Exhibition and received more than 22,000 visits during its first year – which seems small today compared with 400,000 people who come every year."

a boat being transported on a truck

Turbinia on the move. Picture © Discovery Museum

The collections grew so much that the museum had to be moved from the building at Exhibition Park to larger premises in 1978 in Blandford Square, and was later relaunched as the Discovery Museum in 1993.

In 1994 one of the museum's most popular exhibits, Turbinia, the first ship to be powered by steam power, was transported through Newcastle from its old home in Exhibition Park to the Discovery Museum. It now has pride of place in the main entrance hall.

The museum underwent a £13 million refurbishment in 2004 and became the most popular tourist attraction in the region the following year, attracting 450,000 visitors.

For more information visit the Discovery Museum website.

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