Being Brunel museum opens its doors

March 26 2018
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A NEW museum that explores the life and legacy of one of engineering’s greatest minds - Isambard Kingdom Brunel - opened to visitors in Bristol on March 23.

A NEW museum that explores the life and legacy of one of engineering’s greatest minds - Isambard Kingdom Brunel - opened to visitors in Bristol on March 23. 

Displaying the world’s most significant collection on Brunel, the museum will allow visitors to discover the man who built two of the city’s most famous landmarks - the SS Great Britain, which transformed the way we travel today, and the famous Clifton Suspension Bridge.

Being Brunel compromises six galleries and some 150 of Brunel’s personal artefacts, brought together to share the most significant insights into his influence on the world. 

The £7.2m project on Bristol’s harbourside will be located a few metres from the SS Great Britain. It also incorporates the historic Great Western Steamship Company’s Dock Office, a Grade II listed building where Brunel once worked, which has been restored as part of the project.

Visitors to the museum will have the chance to step into a recreation of the drawing office where Brunel and his team worked on final designs for the SS Great Britain. With tremendous attention to detail, the office has been reconstructed based on a watercolour painted by his niece, and creates a fully immersive encounter with Brunel’s environment - from its sounds and scents through to the colour of the paint based on evidence found in his original office.

The museum will also use interactive storytelling, and 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 extraordinary moments from his life as if they were seeing it through his eyes. 

Speaking of the new museum, Matthew Tanner,chief executive of the SS Great Britain Trust, said: “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. 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.”

Entry into Being Brunel is included in general admission to the SS Great Britain. More information and online tickets are available at ssgreatbritain.org.