City museum re-opening delayed until next year

Bradford’s National Science and Media Museum has revealed plans for its delayed reopening as it showcases the latest designs for new permanent galleries.

It is currently undergoing a major transformation programme and will reopen in 2025 to align with the launch of Bradford’s City of Culture year.

The museum temporarily closed in June last year to allow for significant changes through a £6m capital project called “Sound and Vision”. It includes two new permanent galleries, a new passenger lift and improvements to the main entrance, thanks to support from The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The museum had initially been set to reopen this summer.

However due to “unforeseen delays” to the excavation of an additional passenger lift shaft, it is now anticipated the museum will open in two phases, with the building welcoming visitors at the start of the Bradford district’s City of Culture year, and the new Sound and Vision galleries launching later in 2025.

Jo Quinton-Tulloch, director of the National Science and Media Museum, said: “Our new Sound and Vision galleries will completely transform the museum’s visitor offer by showcasing our incredible collections and ensuring visitors can find stories that resonate with them.

“Having an additional passenger lift is a crucial part of our transformation that will enable us to welcome many more visitors in 2025 and beyond.

“Despite extensive survey work before the excavation commenced, our contractors encountered an unexpected make-up of ground at the base of the lift, which took much longer to excavate than anticipated.

“Whilst the impact of this delay in the short term is frustrating, our Sound and Vision project will future proof the museum for decades to come.

“Our new gallery designs reveal how the spaces will be dynamic, interactive and inspiring, underlining how all areas of our collection from photography to videogaming are embedded in every aspect of our lives.

“Visitors will be able to see the first ever photographic image; have a go at being a sound engineer; step inside the studio of a local radio station and enter a live art installation.

“We’ve also worked closely with local communities to ensure we’re telling stories that are relevant to Bradford, showcasing the creativity and diversity of our home city.”

Designed by gallery architects, AOC (Agents of Change), the new galleries will showcase the museum’s core collections, to lead visitors on a journey through the explosion of sound and image technologies, and the impact on our lives.

Helen Featherstone, director, England, North at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “It is incredibly exciting to see the designs of the new gallery spaces as part of the Sound and Vision project, which we’re thrilled to be supporting thanks to National Lottery players.

“The transformation of the National Science and Media Museum will ensure this national and local treasure is a star attraction for City of Culture 2025,  and it will also have a lasting and meaningful future with local people and visitors enjoying it for generations to come.

“Improving access to the museum is an important element of the project, so although there is a short delay, this work will enable more people to experience the wonders of science and media.”