Thinktank Science Garden opens in Birmingham
First in UK and one of only a few in the world
The new Thinktank Science Garden opens in Birmingham this weekend as part of the city’s Jubilee festivities, offering visitors of all ages the chance to get ‘bodies on’ with science through exciting and inventive features such as an eight metre high clanging ‘Terminus’ machine and a human-sized hamster wheel.
Opening celebrations for the permanent interactive outdoor exploration space – the first of its type and scale in the UK– include a Diamond Jubilee Big Lunch event on Sunday 3 June.
Once on site, visitors can explore themes of energy, mechanics and transportation through three fun zones and 42 exhibits, including the first ever logic-defying square wheeled people wagon and a ‘pulley me up’ machine.
They can also try their luck with the ‘elastic squirt’ (a unique specially commissioned water piston that uses elastic potential energy) and crank up two fast-moving propellers to power a merry-go-round, which links with the Hurricane and Spitfire fighter planes already on display in the main museum.
All of this has been delivered by a team of designers, engineers, building contractors, education experts, science communications specialists and local school children, who have spent more than 10,000 man hours on the project since it first began.
Thinktank’s Director of Learning and Operations, Janine Eason, said: “As a major addition to the existing museum, the new Thinktank Science Garden offers a fresh and exciting way of experiencing firsthand how science and engineering have shaped Birmingham and the world. After three years in development, we are eager to see the fun zones and exhibits in action and look forward to welcoming visitors of all ages on site.”
In addition, the Science Garden will host an engaging programme of events and activities throughout the summer, including storytelling for young children, arts and crafts sessions and big outdoor demonstrations.
The development comes at an exciting time for Thinktank, after the museum joined forces with Birmingham's Museums and Art Gallery last year to create the new Birmingham Museums Limited. When the Science Garden opens, it will form part of the larger Eastside City Park, the first major new city centre park in Birmingham for more than 100 years, playing a crucial role in the regeneration and repositioning of the city centre.
The Thinktank Science Garden is supported by Biffa Award, Millennium Point Trust and a range of other charitable trusts and foundations including the Wellcome Trust.
Clare Matterson, Director of Medical Humanities and Engagement at the Wellcome Trust said: “The Science Garden offers people a space to get outside and enjoy the summer whilst exploring their natural curiosity of science. As the first of its type in the UK, we are pleased to have supported the project.”
For more information and to book tickets visit www.thinktank.ac or phone 0121 202 2222. For Group bookings please call the dedicated hotline on 0121 202 2244.
The Thinktank Science Garden will be open seven days a week from 10am to 5pm from 2 June 2012, with last admission at 4.30pm. Entry is included in the cost of Thinktank museum tickets, which are priced at £12.25 for adults and £8.40 for children and concessions. A special family ticket for four (maximum two adults) is on offer for £39.00, and Group rates are also available. For more information and to book tickets visit www.thinktank.ac or phone 0121 202 2222. For Group bookings please call the dedicated hotline on 0121 202 2244.
The Thinktank Science Garden is the first capital development project to launch under the new Birmingham Museums organisation, established to govern and manage the museum sites and collections owned by Birmingham City Council and Thinktank, Birmingham’s Science Museum at Millennium Point. The overall project is worth £2.8 million, supported by Biffaward (having won the Biffaward Cultural Flagship project award in 2010), Millennium Point Trust and a range of other charitable trusts and foundations including the Wellcome Trust.
Birmingham Museums Limited (BML) has been established to govern and manage the museums buildings and collections owned by Birmingham City Council and Thinktank, Birmingham Science Museum and to sustain and develop key partnerships to deliver high quality, audience focussed museum services, which meet the needs of Birmingham communities and the regions.
Thinktankis home to over 200 hands-on exhibits and thousands of amazing artefacts, including a state-of-the-art digital Planetarium. Thinktank examines the past, investigates the present, explores what the future may bring and helps visitors to understand how science and technology shape our lives. In 2011 it welcomed 218,855 visitors through its doors. For more information visit www.thinktank.ac
The Biffa Award: Since 1997, the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts (RSWT) has been awarding grants to environmentaland community projects under the fund name Biffa Award. The fund administers moneydonated by Biffa Group Ltd, a leading integrated waste management business.Under the Landfill Tax Regulations 1996, landfill operators like Biffa Group Ltd are liable fortaxes on waste deposited in landfill sites. The Landfill Communities Fund allows them to donatea small percentage of their tax liability to projects working to improve communities living withinthe vicinity of landfill sites. To date, Biffa Award has awarded grants totalling more than £125million to hundreds of worthwhile projects. www.bifff-award.org
The Wellcome Trustis a global charitable foundation dedicated to achieving extraordinary improvements in human and animal health. It supports the brightest minds in biomedical research and the medical humanities. The Trust’s breadth of support includes public engagement, education and the application of research to improve health. It is independent of both political and commercial interests. www.wellcome.ac.uk
Millennium Pointis England's largest landmark Millennium Project outside of London. It opened in September 2001 on time and within budget (total cost £114 million, including £50 million of Millennium Commission lottery funding and £25.6 million from the European Regional Development Fund).