Steam engines, interactive technology displays, spectacular Planetarium shows and the child-sized world of MiniBrum will all spring back to life as Thinktank, Birmingham’s award-winning science museum, reopens to visitors from Saturday 29May – just in time for the half-term holiday.
With tickets now on sale, the opening marks the first chance for visitors to explore a world of wonder at the museum since closing in March 2020, and to celebrate the occasion a brand-new gallery, Our Changing Planet, will open to the public for the first time.
Our Changing Planet is a fascinating, new addition to Thinktank and at a time when climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing humanity the exhibition will explore how humans have changed the world and how these changes are affecting the wildlife around us.
Featuring over 150 fascinating items from pre-historic tools to the first plastic invented in Birmingham, and from the first prototype vehicle to travel under its own power on Britain’s roads to part of the first computer used at the Longbridge motor factory, Our Changing Planet is perfect for older children and adults to learn and think how human invention and behaviour has impacted the world around us.
As a stark contrast to the man-made inventions, Our Changing Planet investigates how pollution, habitat destruction, species extinction and climate change are radically altering landscapes and lives all over the world. A green sea turtle, corals, platypus and other vulnerable species will illustrate how humanity’s impact on the natural world has intensified through time.
Laurence Butler, Museum Manager at Thinktank Science Museum said: “We’re over the moon to be able to welcome visitors back to Thinktank. Our steam engines will be pumping, the city of MiniBrum will be open for play and the brand new Our Changing Planet gallery will be ready to explore.
“We’ve got four floors, ten galleries, a science garden, a planetarium – there’s a lot to see and we’ve created a safe, fun and inspiring experience for as many people as we can. We’ll be limiting capacity and admission will be by pre-booking only, to ensure our visitors have a safe and fun-packed day out.”
Before the coronavirus pandemic forced Thinktank to close its doors the museum had one of its most successful years on record with more than 243,000 people and 45,500 school children visiting.
The opening of MiniBrum in 2019 proved a huge hit with visitors and this fantastic gallery that allows families to learn together will be ready to welcome younger visitors once again. The exciting child-sized world of MiniBrum features some of Birmingham’s iconic landmarks such as the canals, Selfridges and the University of Birmingham’s Old Joe Clock Tower. It also features different play zones including a home area where children can build their own dens, a burrow where children can find the hidden animals, a race-track inspired by Birmingham’s upcoming Commonwealth Games, a construction zone with a climbing tower and slide, a Post Office, and a salon.
Thinktank has over 200 hands-on displays and showcases many amazing items from the city’s science and engineering collection, including the Smethwick Engine which is the world’s oldest working steam engine. Other things to see at Thinktank include a Planetarium where visitors can journey to the stars and learn about the wonders of the night sky, and an outdoor Science Garden that invites visitors to explore the science behind energy, mechanics and mobility.
Visitors will also get a chance to take home a bit of Thinktank Science Museum with a brand-new shop. From space to science, animals to Birmingham inspired gifts, the new Thinktank shop offers a range of products chosen to reflect the museum’s collections and the fun, family-friendly museum that it is.
Safety will be the museum’s top priority and visitors are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the guidelines before arrival. There will be new measures in place, including limiting capacity through online advance booking and one-way routes around the galleries with visitors welcomed via a new entrance on Level 0. Visitors can still enjoy a variety of hot and cold lunches at Signal Box Cafe, including the signature Signal Box Burger! New for 2021 is Platform 2, an outside kiosk serving up tasty treats for those who may prefer to eat outside.
Thinktank Science Museum opens on Saturday 29 May and during half-term week will be open each day from 10am – 5pm until Sunday 7 June. From 7 June it will open Wednesday – Sunday between 10am and 5pm.
See more at www.birminghammuseums.org.uk/thinktank