The National Railway Museum in York has revealed its plans to ignite young minds through the creation of an interactive engineering gallery called Wonderlab. 

Artist impression of the transformation at NRM

Wonderlab will create a ‘wonder-filled environment’ where young minds can discover their own potential through building, testing and learning. This will include the chance to have a go at pulling a locomotive as well as exploring how fast things travel and how they move. 

A ‘tinkering’ workshop space, live demonstrations, live shows and experiments are also being planned, to inspire the next generation of rail engineers.

The new gallery aims to double the current number of school children, up to 80,000, who will get ‘hands-on’ during school visits to York. The museum aims to open Wonderlab in late 2021.

Wonderlab will be based on and similar to the interactive galleries created by the Science Museum Group at its Bradford and London museums.

What else will be new?

The new Wonderlab is just one element of a vision to transform the National Railway Museum, including the complete redevelopment of the Great Hall, its largest exhibition space, where the story of railways will be brought to life through new multimedia displays featuring sound, audio and light.

More than 12,000 objects will be re-displayed and 1,000 brought into public display for the first time in a reimagined Open Store, drawing inspiration from the greatest open storage displays in the world.

Visitors will also enjoy improved access onto locomotives and will benefit from views over the Prep Bay where they will see visiting engines being maintained and fuelled. Stories about how the railways brought fish and chips and transported the wounded in wartime will be told through railway vehicles and thousands of smaller objects from the museum’s unrivalled collection, too.

A new Central Gallery and a new Museum Square will also be built as part of the transformation project, which is hoped to be completed by 2025, its 50th anniversary.

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Image credit: MUF.