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A brilliant day out
National Museum of Photography, Film & Television (Bradford)
Member Name: englishrose
National Museum of Photography, Film & Television (Bradford)
Advantages: Free entry. Interesting and fun exhibits.
The National Museum of Photography, Film and Television has now changed its' name to the much snappier "National Media Museum" .
We have just visited this place (April 2009) and amazingly, it is still free to enter. It's open 10 am till 6.00 pm, Tuesday to Sunday.
I first visited this place around 15 years ago, and having just been back, I have got to say, it has changed and improved a lot.
Spread over 6 floors, it's in a shiny building right in the centre of Bradford: it is signposted by the brown 'leisure' signs from the main motorways and A-roads, although of course, the brown signs all disappear when you get within a couple of miles of your destination! We did actually do a circular tour of the Bradford suburbs a couple of times, which was interesting, but eventually found our way in.
The musuem does have its' own car park behind the building, but this is quite small, however there are several car parks within walking distance and we used the NCP which was about 5 minutes walk. These are all pay and display.
Entry is free, and you can just wander around at your own pace, or you can book a guided tour. The museum has its' own IMAX cinema, which you pay seperately for, and this needs to be booked in advance. At the time of our visit, it was around £3.00, and we were told this could be paid for with Tesco Deals tokens if you wish.
The IMAX was showing the new release Monsters and Aliens, as well as several 'experience' films such as walking on the moon, under the sea.
Unfortunately, we arrived too late for the IMAX show, so we didn't get to go in there. However, there was plenty of other entertainment, so we didn't feel we had missed out too much.
We started off at the camera exhibition, which was a traditional museum set-up showing cameras from the beginning of the invention, right through the ages up to the present day digitals.
There was a similar exhibition of television sets and video players, and some of them had us feeling really old - seeing equipment in a museum that you remember having in your own home is a bit of an eye-opener! :)
These exhibitions are enhanced with added extras like TV sets showing old adverts on a loop, each with a bench to sit down and watch.
Another floor contained hands-on visual tricks and magic, which the children loved: The theme was light and mirrors, with buttons to press and how-to guides. There was a periscope to try, CCTV cameras to operate, how colours change our view of objects and a 'shadow catcher' machine. This area was very busy and full of very excited laughing children.
The highlight for us was the 'how television pictures get to your set' demonstration : Very educational and fun for kids and adults alike, you actually 'see' how the signals are sent from satellites or aerials down to the TV set.
Another favourite was the 'be a camera operator' where you can try out some real equipment, trained on a proper stage set, and follow instructions on what to do.
Then there was the 'blue' set with different superimposed backgrounds: The children loved being on the weather report/in teletubby land/skydiving/on coronation street/in dinosaur land ..... and one of our daughters was awestruck to see herself on screen where her t-shirt seemed to have disappeared - it was blue, which doesn't show up on screen. Very, very funny seeing her expression!
Also a big hit was 'be a newsreader' where you could sit behind a desk and read the autocue, then watch it back afterwards. Very busy and popular, a great experience for children (and adults!).
We also had a ride in the Simulator - well actually, we had two rides, because we got a special offer. The ride was stated as £2.75 per person, but a second ride was only £1.00. Choose from the Gorilla Safari (we didn't), The Haunted Mine Train or the Rocky Ravine (we did!) Very realistic and great fun.
Two photography exhibitions were on another floor: 'Bradford Babies', which showed an archive of pictures taken by a local photographer over several decades.
The other exhibition currently on show, was entitled 'Picturing the Ideal Human 1840 - now" and this was absolutely gripping. Only on until 19th April, but I had to mention it, the photographs in this were mainly concerned with birth and death over the ages, and showed some really moving scenes.
The museum has a nice cafe on the ground floor, with average prices, and also a seperate indoor picnic area for those who have bought their own food - We sat here to eat our lunch and it was really nice and had a great view of the city from the large picture window.
Toilets were clean but seemed to be confined to the ground floor. However, there were lifts as well as stairs, so they were easy enough to get to.
The centre was well-staffed and we found everyone friendly and helpful.
We will definitely be going back again soon!
Summary: Perfect for a family outing
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