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By Kim Gowland on

Special Exhibitions Gallery: Progress report

At the museum, we're delighted that we have been granted planning permission to build our brand new Special Exhibitions gallery.

This means that building work can start next year, with the gallery opening in around two years’ time. This is a very exciting project for us, for a variety of reasons.

The heritage

The new gallery will be built in the basement of the museum’s Grade I listed 1830 Warehouse (the world’s first railway warehouse) and underneath the arches of the 1830 viaduct (part of the world’s oldest surviving passenger railway). We will be able to breathe new life into our unique and wonderful heritage buildings, carrying out careful conservation work and revealing the original brick arches in all their glory to our audiences.


Picture of the proposed exterior of MSI's Special Exhibition Gallery

The architects

We will be working with some fantastic architects on this project: London-based practice Carmody Groarke. They have created a reputation for working internationally on a wide range of arts, cultural, heritage and residential projects, from the Architecture Gallery at the Royal Institute of British Architects’ headquarters in London to the permanent memorial to the 7 July London bombings.


Picture of the proposed entranceof MSI's Special Exhibition Gallery

A wonderful space for creative science engagement

One of the major reasons for creating the new gallery is to create a purpose-built, high-quality space for our visitors to enjoy and to be inspired by world-class science exhibitions and live creative science programmes. The first major exhibition to be shown in the Special Exhibitions Gallery will be Electricity: The Spark of Life (more on which closer to the time).

The new gallery – which will cost about £6.2m –  is being generously funded by the Department for Media, Culture and Sport, Wellcome, the Kirby Laing Foundation, the Zochonis Charitable Trust, and the Friends of the Museum of Science and Industry. So, a special thanks to them at this stage of the project. We are also pleased to announce that we have just received a further £300,000 in funding from the Garfield Weston Foundation.

We will be starting work on site at the beginning of January 2017, which will mean that the lower part of our site, including the 1830 Warehouse, the outdoor area around that, and the Station Building, will need to be closed off to visitors to ensure everyone’s safety.

We will of course keep you up to date with progress on the Special Exhibitions Gallery and what this means for our programme in the meantime, but rest assured, there will always be lots open and lots to do during the construction of our new gallery.


Picture of the proposed interior of MSI's Special Exhibition Gallery

Images copyright: Museum of Science and Industry and Carmody Groarke

Images credit: Forbes Massie


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