Schools visits to Wonderlab: The Bramall Gallery at York’s National Railway Museum can now be booked, with the largest new gallery at the museum in a decade aiming to inspire students with STEM skills.
The new space features 18 hands-on exhibits which aim to inspire and spark curiosity in pupils around the themes of railways and engineering.
Alongside this, schools will be able to see live science shows and demonstrations as part of their visit, with tickets available here.
“We want to ensure that children have great fun while developing a spark of interest in engineering that will contribute towards tackling the UK’s shortage in STEM skills.”
Judith McNicol, director of the National Railway Museum
Jose Esteves De Matos, director of architect company De Matos Ryan, which designed the gallery, said: “Inspired by its unique and rich railway surrounding and the gallery’s previous life as an engineering locomotive workshop, our design explores the different forms of motion evoked by railway engineering, particularly the perception of relative motion in relation to static volumes, surfaces, textures and light.
“We are absolutely delighted to see this interactive gallery come to life with the help and collaboration of the community that surrounds it. We hope it will inspire the imagination, creativity and problem-solving skills of future generations in a fun and engaging manner.”
Judith McNicol, director of the National Railway Museum, added: “We want to ensure that children have great fun while developing a spark of interest in engineering that will contribute towards tackling the UK’s shortage in STEM skills.”
Wonderlab: The Bramall Gallery for school trips
Recommended for Key Stages 2 and 3, the 18 exhibits focus on different elements of railways and engineering and encourage students to think like engineers and develop skills as they design, build and test to produce different outcomes.
Among the highlights are ‘Feel the Force’ where pupils can enter a giant wind tunnel to learn about streamlining and ‘The Great Machine’ which asks visitors to solve problems and create their own transport network to move balls through a sequence of connecting tubes.
At the centre of the space is a huge artwork by Steve Messam called Mass, which is a brightly coloured inflatable sculpture standing at 12 metres high and 16 metres wide. Like a hot air balloon, the structure uses air under pressure to support itself.
School visits to the National Railway Museum
Tickets for Wonderlab: The Bramall Gallery are available for school groups from Monday to Friday during term time. Live demonstrations run at the Demo Bar and additional shows can be combined with the visit.
Elsewhere in the museum, pupils will see a broad range of iconic locomotives among its collection, including world-changing inventions like the Japanese Bullet Train and the world’s first steam locomotive - Mallard.
Teachers must complete an online booking form here, with discounts available to school groups.
For more information about Wonderlab: The Bramall Gallery and school visits to the National Railway Museum, go to www.railwaymuseum.org.uk/learning.