Attractions industry news

23 Mar 2018

Isambard Kingdom Brunel museum opens in Bristol

A new museum exploring the life of Isambard Kingdom Brunel has opened its doors to the general public in Bristol.

Called Being Brunel, the £7.2m (US$10.1m, €8.2m) museum explore the life of the man who is known as one of the greatest minds in the history of engineering, hailed as the “genius who built Britain”.

The new attraction, designed by local firm Alec French Architects, is made up of six galleries, which sets out a collection of 150 Brunel artefacts – many never seen by the public – offering an insight into his life, family, interests and creative mind.

The museum includes Brunel’s original and fully restored Dock Office located in the historic Great Western Dockyard. Among his creations while in the office, he created and built the SS Great Britain. The overall design is set to evoke the atmosphere of the Great Exhibition of 1851 – which was a celebration of Victorian wonder and invention, and featured Brunel on its design committee.

A range of interactive storytelling techniques will help visitors understand Brunel. Interactive exhibits include boarding a shaking 1830s broad-gauge railway carriage where ‘passengers’ will be able to compare their drawing skills to Brunel’s while travelling. Visitors will also step into Brunel’s mind for a multi-sensory cinema experience where they will observe moments from his life as if they were seeing it through his eyes.

“By preserving Brunel’s legacy in this way, the museum aims to show what the man made, and what made the man, and we aim to inspire the innovators of the future,” said Matthew Tanner, chief executive of the SS Great Britain Trust.

“It will also highlight Brunel’s continuing relevance today with insight from ‘modern day Brunels’ including Norman Foster and Roma Agrawal, exploring how Brunel has inspired their work.”

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