Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester celebrates after securing £3 million for new gallery
A year or so is a very long time in the life of a national museum: in the summer of 2013, the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester seemed to be staring down the barrel of a gun.
Funding cuts to the National Museum of Science and Industry, a group of four major museums headed up by the Science Museum in London which also includes the National Railway Museum in York, Bradford's National Media Museum and the MOSI, led to dire prophesies and talk of one of the ‘arms’ going.
Eventually the government moved to allay such fears. Yesterday, in Manchester, it was all smiles as Chancellor George Osborne launched the European City of Science 2016, outlining government plans to invest £3 million in a stunning new temporary exhibition space.
The investment means the museum can now pursue ambitious plans to convert the vaulted basement of its 1830 Warehouse – the first ever railway warehouse – into a venue for world-class exhibitions that, it says, will "inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers”.
Director Sally MacDonald said the new exhibition hall will allow the museum to creative innovative exhibitions, further enhancing the city’s "reputation for cutting-edge science."
“The Government’s invaluable financial support means we can do more to feed the enormous passion for science in the North West,” she added, citing an annual audience of more than 700,000 visitors as a motivator for persuading more people to explore the science and heritage showcased by the museum.
£800,000 of funded preparatory work, including the selection of the best location for the new exhibition space from across the museum’s historic 7.5-acre site, has already gone ahead.
The Chancellor also announced plans for a major new research centre in Manchester in his second appearance at the museum this year. In June, he used the popular attraction to announce his intention to create a “northern supercity” which would rival London as a global hub through the building of HS3, the high speed rail link between Manchester and Leeds.
Further major partnerships at the museum include the largest STEMNET contract outside of London and relationships with the Wellcome Trust and the University of Manchester, with whom they are working on a new exhibition on Graphene, Manchester’s latest global scientific export.
The European City of Science will bring 4,500 Science delegates to the city in July 2016 for a forum discussing breakthroughs in science and the conditions needed for a city to capitalise on scientific knowledge.
The new permanent exhibition space at the Museum of Science and Industry is also due to open in 2016.
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