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National Media Museum

Home > Leeds > School Holidays | Museums | Fun for Children | Free | Family
by Yvette (subscribe)
I'm a freelance journalism graduate living in the North of England.
Published October 9th 2012
The museum at night

For many people, museums have long been associated with boring, dull days out. However, the National Media Museum in nearby Bradford is definitely not boring. The museum celebrates everything to do with television, photography and film. And with over half a million visitors alone last year, the museum is obviously a popular place to go.

We arrived early on a Thursday morning after a fifteen minute walk from the car park in Bradford city centre (there are no parking spaces at the museum). We were greeted by the huge yet very modern, curved glass building, a clear sign that this is no ordinary museum.

There is no planned route on how guests should explore the museum, it is up to the individual to decide which floors to visit. After a good look at a map we'd picked up in the entrance, we decided to head straight to floor three TV Heaven.

The National Media Museum describes TV Heaven as 'the first of its kind in Britain' and allows visitors to have access to an archive of over 1000 British television programmes such as classics like Blue Peter.

Next door in Experience TV, visitors can even watch an array of programmes in 3D and learn how television programmes are made.

It wasn't long until we saw the first school trip of the day, we saw around three in total that day. This particular small group of children were having fun pretending to present the weather forecast whilst some other children were being newsreaders for the day.

Soon after we saw another group of children who were all having their photos taken beside the replica Darlek from the hit TV show Doctor Who. There's plenty of TV memorabilia to look at, no matter what your age! For the younger ones, they will love looking at the original Wallace and Gromit models in the Animation Gallery whilst parents can see the original Morph and reminisce.

The Animation Gallery is home to many classic TV characters. Visitors can see a full set of The Wombles and even the original Andy Pandy puppet. There is also original artwork and storyboards from many animated shows such as Bob the Builder and Dangermouse. There really is something for everyone here and visitors even get the chance to make their own animations.

One of the most interactive parts of the museum is the Magic Factory. Upon entering, we were taken aback by the bright colourful walls and all the mirrors that adorned them. The mirrors are definitely magical. They made us look at least five foot taller or shorter depending which mirror we chose to look in.

There are over 30 activities for visitors to have a go at in the Magic Factory, with the aim being to understand the science behind light and colour and develop an understanding of the science used with film, photography and television.

We finished our day off with a visit to the Games Lounge which is just by the exit. The Games Lounge is a gamer's heaven. With huge graphics of Space Invaders stuck around the walls and big illuminated Tetris boxes scattered about, it felt like we were stepping into a video game as we entered the room. In here, visitors can play retro arcade games or have a go on the latest consoles.

Looking at the small portable game devices that are available nowadays, it's hard to believe the likes of the Mega Drive used to be the must have game station!

After a good two hours spent at the museum, it was time to say goodbye. Our visit to the National Media Museum was thoroughly enjoyable and next time (yes, there will be a next time soon!) we plan to visit the IMAX cinema within the museum after being recommended by just about everyone!

The National Media Museum is open six days a week, Tuesday to Sunday and on Bank Holidays. It is open from 10.00 am to 6.00 pm and is free of charge.
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Why? Home to over 3.5 million items of historical significance.
Where: Bradford, West Yorkshire, BD1 1NQ
Cost: Free
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