Think about what museum’s the UK has, what we have to shout about. The first things that come to my mind are stuffy museums full of glass cases telling the history of the country. Maybe a country house showing how the other side lived a hundred years ago, or a museum showing our industrial past, a shadow of what we made in days gone.
Now, I enjoy a good museum, however, on one of our many trips down the M1, I happened to notice a brown sign. I always keep my eye out for brown signs, they point the direction to fun places like theme parks and tourist attractions. This brown sign however said ‘National Space Centre’.
I thought about this, it didn’t fit, the UK having a National Space Centre, this just had to be an empty museum, a museum of space?
A little research when I got home opened my eyes to the rich amount of information the museum offered, it wasn’t just the UK lacklustre efforts compared to other countries, it was the history of space travel the world over.
Let me just take a minute to apologise for using the word lacklustre, I am more than aware that we dabble and there are dedicated individuals who spend their lives studying space, but when you think of space, you automatically think NASA or the Russians.
Entering the car park, the museum looks like a cobbled together mixture of steel box, and giant inflatable tower, but it does have a unique look about it which draws you in.
You enter into the large ‘inflatable’ tower, and you soon discover its purpose, it houses a giant rocket which stands the entire height of the building.
As you navigate the Space Centre, you experience various displays showing the complete history of space exploration, from Sputnik to the Internal Space Station and beyond to our efforts to get to Mars.
The museum is mainly aimed at children, with hands on displays where they can get a feel of what space exploration requires, and hopefully go some way to encourage further curiosity.
Now, the downsides. We visited in a school holiday and we regret it, I would look to go in term time, the museum was really busy, in fact, so busy we gave up and headed out, which is no real loss as the entrance ticket is automatically valid for 12 months.
We are planning on heading back at some point to finish off, as we really enjoyed it, and for 12 months of learning you can’t really go wrong as the displays are well thought out and fully engaging for children.