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A day in the museum
Discovery Museum (Newcastle upon Tyne)
Member Name: Charris2002
Discovery Museum (Newcastle upon Tyne)
The Discovery Museum in Newcastle is a must!!
I recently returned home to Newcastle for a few days with my family, whom have only ever been to Newcastle twice before our recent visit.
The kids have become great fans of Newcastle and everything connected to it, but didn't register a great deal of enthusiasm when I suggested we could visit the museum - typical kids though!
However, on arrival, they soon began to change their minds about the idea and gradually became engrossed in exploring every nook and cranny of the place.
Funded entirely by grants, admission is free for everyone. The building itself is light and airy, and caters for all - ramps and rails are incorporated into the design for wheelchair access, a comfortable 1960's themed cafe, with a surprisingly wide range of reasonably priced food and drink is provided on site, along the now obligatory museum shop.
In keeping with the history of shipbuilding on the Tyne, the ground floor is dominated by the original prototype turbine driven ship, the Turbinia, which fills the main hall. Situated alongside are activity tables, offering drawing and colouring activities for kids. A range of models tracing Newcastles shipbuilding heritage is on display in an adjacent hall, along with an interactive display showing the length of the Tyne, and landmarks associated with it. A small room has been converted into a replica of the bridge of an old fashioned sailing ship, complete with wheels, lots of brass, pressure gauges etc. Also here, a range of display offer the opportunity to test your ability to get knotted - not as easy as it looks....
At the other side of hall, the social history of Newcastle is traced from the Great Fire, through the middle ages, the 1800 and 1900s are well documented through the Sixties and Seveties and to present day. Local people can be heard talking about various eras, their lives and community life through the ages. Again, much is interactive, with drawers to open, objects to identify and locate, and, of course, laugh at!! Unlike other museums, the seedier aspects of Newcastles history are fully documented, from witch hunts to gangsters, they are all here.
The first floor contains an area on fashion through the ages with some cringingly bad fashion sense on view, and some examples of what would have been considered the height of fashion through from the 1800s to date.
Science Works is where the museum excels - everything is interactive, ranging from producing your own electricity, demonstrating magnetic theory, sound and vision, the using the properties of light, and the history of everyday objects, such as the telephone, computers, and TV. A suite full of PCs is available, equipped with a range of educational software and free internet access for all. My kids checked their email accounts online!
There is a section for the younger children, allowing them to compose music, get to grips computer drawing and graphics, and an opportunity to dress up in authentic clothes of bygone ages. Strangely, my kids declined this option must be their age!.
The museum is open 7 days a week (Sundays are afternoon only 2pm to 5pm) and is easily accessible by road, rail and public transport.
The Discovery Museum is everything your traditional museum isn't - housed in a state of the art building (even the toilet doors and sinks are automatic!), with lifts and wheelchair lifts ideally situated, its noisy, its bright, and its full of kids having fun and learning at the same time - A brilliant day out, highly recommended.
Summary: A great modern kids orientated museum
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