The Science Museum have opened Wonderlab: The Statoil Gallery, its most ambitious interactive gallery ever, which invites visitors to think like a scientist.
The £6 million permanent gallery features unique exhibits, specially-commissioned artworks, explosive demonstrations and immersive experiences led by the Museum's talented team of science communicators, Explainers, to inspire visitors of all ages to wonder at the science and mathematics that shape our lives.
‘As part of a family holiday when I was 7 years old (coming to London from Sheffield seemed a long way then) we made a special trip to the Science Museum. Just exploring science for fun was something I had not experienced before. I am sure that set the grounds for a life that just cannot be without science.’
Dr Helen Sharman, Science Museum Fellow and first Briton in space.
The Museum’s goal is to see 200,000 young people in school groups visit the gallery for free each year, twice as many as the previous interactive gallery could accommodate. Other visitors will be able to buy an annual pass from £10, allowing unlimited entry to the gallery for 12 months, or a day ticket from £6. Since June, almost 30,000 visitors have already booked on schools visits to Wonderlab.
With over 50 exhibits across seven zones, visitors to the gallery will explore the incredible phenomena that occur around us every day, with topics as diverse as sound, forces, light, electricity, maths, matter and space. Wonderlab is also home to three live demonstration areas and a 120-capacity showspace inspired by the Royal Institution’s world-renowned Faraday Theatre.
‘I first came to the Science Museum in 1926 when I was about six years old and loved it, and kept coming back. In fact, the only place I found as a youngster that would give me ideas that were the source of inventions was the Science Museum.’James Lovelock, the greatest independent scientist of the 20th century
Amongst the gallery’s many highlights, visitors can ride on a giant rotating model of the solar system to learn why we have seasons, experience forces on a large friction slide, and take part in live science shows full of electricity, rockets, space and more.
Science Museum Group Director, Ian Blatchford, said: ‘The Science Museum Group’s core purpose is to ignite curiosity in our visitors. We’re confident we will do this in spades with Wonderlab: The Statoil Gallery - a perfect mix of curatorial flair, scientific clout and joyous imagination.’
The Museum also launched a short film celebrating the power of a child’s wonder, featuring the inspirational voice of Sir David Attenborough. Meanwhile, taking the gallery’s lead and inviting the public to share their wonders are a number of famous faces including Sir Patrick Stewart, Pharrell Williams, Professor Brian Cox, Lauren Laverne, Theo James, NASA’s Charlie Bolden and Olympians Jonny and Alistair Brownlee. Visit the Science Museum’s YouTube channel.
‘I have very happy memories as a young child being enthralled by the interactive gallery in the Science Museum. The power of pressing buttons and seeing the exhibits come to life was really exciting - and I remember running from one to the next. Of course things are much more sophisticated now with Wonderlab providing interactive experiences beyond anything we imagined.’ Professor Dame Ann Dowling OM DBE FREng FRS, President of the Royal Academy of Engineering
The gallery is designed by award-winning practice muf architecture/art, which is renowned for working with artists on innovative projects celebrating the social and playful aspects of public spaces.
Wonderlab Curator, Toby Parkin, said: ‘We set out designing Wonderlab to reveal the wonder and beauty in science and maths and to get our visitors to think like a scientist with close attention, curiosity and creativity. It’s been a real joy to work with talented architects and artists to put these ideas at the heart of everything from the most spectacular exhibits in the gallery right down to the smallest details in the furniture. I’m incredibly excited to see our visitors flood in and hopefully come back to explore Wonderlab for years to come.’
Tickets are available to book here or call 0333 241 4000.