We will also be inviting guest bloggers, from scientists to artists, to share their thoughts and experiences, and we look forward to also engaging in conversation with all of you too.
You may be wondering what has taken us so long to launch a blog. Well, the museum has been through a huge period of change over the last few years both physically and digitally, and continues to change and grow now.
Changes at the museum
In 2012, we joined the Science Museum Group (SMG), which also consists of the Science Museum in London, the National Media Museum in Bradford, and the National Railway Museum sites in York and Shildon. This move marked an ambitious change of direction for the museum, a new director in Sally MacDonald, and a new name for the museum. It was felt by many the old name – MOSI – didn’t reflect our new national as well as regional aspirations. So now, we are simply the Museum of Science and Industry (or MSI for short).
We also have a new logo, which uses the common theme of the hexagon to connect industry, graphene and the honeycomb of the worker bee, all of which are synonymous with Manchester.
Our website has also been redeveloped, with a great deal more content to be added over the coming months. We have created a new brand identity, with the core principle of the museum now being to ‘inspire visitors and future scientists with ideas that change the world’.
Our museum is not just about facts, figures, machinery, objects, buildings – it’s about people and place and stories.
It’s about how world-changing events happened right here in Manchester and how they are continuing to happen to this day. And all of this takes place in our historic Grade I and Grade II buildings on the site of the world’s oldest surviving passenger railway and our unique working machinery (with demos every day by our very talented team of Explainers).
However, the changes here are much more than simply creating a new identity, and are more than skin deep. MSI has developed a reputation for innovative and engaging creative science programming, from the Manchester Science Festival to lively regular public programmes like Platform for Investigation and Adult Lates. We now also work across the Science Museum Group to share exhibitions and collections, and MSI’s major new exhibition, Wonder Materials: Graphene and Beyond, will tour to the Science Museum in London as well as internationally.
Our visitors seem to like what we are doing, with over 700,000 visits in 2015, an increase from 2014, making us the most visited museum in Manchester. As well as still being popular with families, we have also begun to appeal to a much more diverse adult audience, especially younger adults. Our booked education groups have soared too, and alongside this, we have our many STEM Ambassadors enthusing young people about science, technology, engineering and maths. We want to continue to appeal to as many people as possible, and we want to work with our visitors (both physical and virtual) to do this.
We have many new plans and ambitions over the coming years, both in the museum and across SMG, including a multi-million pound transformation of the site over the next decade, beginning with a new £6 million Special Exhibition Gallery, which will open in autumn 2018 and allow us to create and bring more world-class science exhibitions to Manchester.
So, exciting times, we hope you will agree. Please keep checking our blog for updates, and we invite you to be part of the conversation with us.