Discovery Museum is a science museum and local history museum situated in Blandford Square in Newcastle upon Tyne,. It is a "hands-on" museum designed to interest both children and adults which displays many exhibits of local history, including Turbinia, the 34 metre long ship built by Charles Algernon Parsons to test the advantages of using the steam turbine to power ships. It also features examples of Joseph Swan's early lightbulbs which were invented on Tyneside, the regimental museum for the 15th/19th The King's Royal Hussars and the Northumberland Hussars.
Other exhibits include models of HMS Victoria, launched at Elswick shipyard in 1887, and Baikal, an ice-breaking ferry built at the Armstrong Mitchell yard at Low Walker to carry train carriages across Lake Baikal in Siberia. As well as Armstrong's No. 1 Gun – a revolutionary artillery piece designed after the Crimean War – there is a working model of the Tyne's Swing Bridge and one of the few surviving Armstrong Whitworth cars, dating from 1911.
It is one of the biggest free museums in North East England, and in 2006 was winner of the North East's Best Family Experience award at the North East England Tourism Awards. It is managed by Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums and sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
Discovery Museum started life in 1934 as the Municipal Museum of Science and Industry. The collections were housed in a temporary pavilion built for the 1929 North East Coast Exhibition in Exhibition Park, Newcastle. This was the first UK science museum outside London.
The collections and displays grew for another forty years, until the temporary pavilion could no longer meet the Museum's needs. In 1978, the Museum was re-located to Blandford House, the former Co-operative Wholesale Society Headquarters for the Northern Region. Designed by Oliver, Leeson and Wood, this magnificent 1899 building had been the distribution centre for over 100 Co-op stores across the region, and contained extensive warehouse space and offices.
In 1993 the Museum was re-launched as Discovery Museum. Ongoing refurbishment has brought many new displays in recent years. This includes the spectacular transfer of Turbinia, in 1994, from her old home in Exhibition Park through the streets of Newcastle to the new entrance hall at Discovery.
In 2004 the £13 million redevelopment of the Museum was complete and the following year the venue attracted 450,000 visitors.
On a personal note my family and I have always thoroughly enjoyed our visits to the museum over the years. It was always my sons favourite place to visit when he was young and I still visit once or twice a year. A must visit if you have not been before.
20th September 2017
30th October 2014
22nd May 2011
26th May 2006
10th December 2005
26th June 2004
- Discovery Museum Website
- Wikipedia - Discovery Museum
- Sitelines - Blandford Square, Blandford House
- Historic England - Blandford House
- Remembering Armstrong at Discovery
- Wikipedia - The Turbinia
- 3D Internal Map of Discovery Museum
See my other photos around The Discovery Museum: