Find all the answers to your questions about our temporary closure here.
For the latest on our transformation project as it progresses, visit the Sound and Vision page.
The project involves the installation of a new lift shaft and the complete remodelling of levels 3 and 5, as well as the whole foyer and entrance. We must close the museum to safeguard the health and wellbeing of staff and visitors.
Even if we were able to keep parts of the museum open for some of the duration of the project, our visitor offer would be dramatically reduced. We have weighed this up very carefully and our approach ensures that the museum presents itself in the best possible light for City of Culture 2025 and inspires visitors for decades to come.
Pictureville Cinema and Bar can operate as a standalone venue during the construction phase for the Sound and Vision project. Pictureville will be open seven days a week, with an enhanced programme.
The IMAX and Cubby Broccoli cinema will not be operational during the museum’s closure.
Sound and Vision is a £6 million project that will see us build two significant new galleries on levels 3 and 5. The new galleries will inspire future generations, by providing wider access to world class collections of photography, film, animation, TV, sound and gaming technologies.
The project will also see improvements to accessibility with the installation of a new lift and the opening up of the foyer area, creating an enhanced welcome and public space.
The Sound and Vision project futureproofs the museum for decades to come and an investment at this scale underlines the museum's importance as a national cultural asset. The temporary closure will ensure the museum reopens in time for Bradford to be crowned UK City of Culture 2025.
A great deal of work has gone into the planning for this project and we are working hard with our contractors and suppliers to deliver the project on time. We have built in contingency where we anticipate risks and we are planning to reopen the museum in summer 2024, several months before City of Culture 2025 commences. The new galleries will be ready later in 2024, giving us ample time to launch them in a timely fashion.
The project had initial funding in place and would have gone ahead regardless of the outcome of Bradford’s bid. However, the city’s designation as City of Culture in 2025 gives the Sound and Vision project even more impetus and will help us to drive forward key ambitions around young audiences, the digital economy and help to achieve increased national and international visibility for the museum.
In March 2023, we announced that we secured a second-round £3,086,790 grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to deliver our Sound and Vision project. This grant is in addition to the initial support of £318, 963 received to begin the development of Sound and Vision.
In addition to the funding received from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the project also has support from the DCMS/Wolfson Museums and Galleries Improvement Fund 2022–24, Bradford Metropolitan District Council and the Science Museum Group, which the National Science and Media Museum is a part of.
The local communities of Bradford district are at the centre of the development of our new galleries. Over the last year, we’ve hosted community consultation sessions where we’ve heard from community leaders and representatives about what they want to see at their museum. You can read our latest blog about these sessions here.
We will be continuing to engage with our local community throughout the development of the project and we’d love to hear from you. If you would like to get involved, please sign up to our newsletter.
Absolutely—we are determined to maintain relationships with schools (and indeed the wider community) during our temporary closure. This will involve our Learning team working directly with schools to take interactive workshops out to them, engaging with teachers and pupils in new and interesting ways.
The activity plan that sits alongside the development of the Sound and Vision Project is already forging links with underrepresented audiences and their feedback runs through the DNA of the whole project—we have a number of activity strands that will run all the way through the temporary closure period, focused on greater access, skills development and volunteering opportunities.
Throughout this period of closure, we will be providing regular updates to our audiences through our website, social media channels and via our newsletters.
You can also visit our Sound and Vision project pages.
The museum’s mission as part of the Science Museum Group is to ‘inspire futures’. The Sound and Vision project enables us to deliver more meaningfully on this, updating our core displays so that they resonate more powerfully with audiences.
Our collections focus incorporates photography, film, television, animation, videogames and sound technologies and in the new galleries we will showcase items from all of these collections, to inspire the scientists, creatives and engineers of the future.
Protecting and caring for our nationally significant collection is vitally important. While we undergo construction works, our objects will continue to be cared for and looked after by our Collections team, where they will be safely held in our stores on site or at our National Collections Centre in Swindon.
When the new galleries open, you’ll be able to find some of your old favourites alongside new ones. The collections span more than 3.2 million items encompassing photography, film, television, animation, videogames and sound technologies. The new displays will showcase key items in new and interactive ways, to inspire the scientists, creatives and engineers of the future.
Yes, we’re fully committed to maintaining free admission to the museum.
Photography has always been a fundamental part of the museum’s remit and we hold more than 3 million photographs in the collection. We have a whole floor (Kodak Gallery) devoted to photography (which will have a refreshed display when we reopen) and in addition to this, the new galleries on levels 3 and 5 will include photographs and photographic technologies.