Monday 4 March 2013

Manchester Museum of Science and Industry - MOSI

As a family we are big fans of the museum of science and industry in Manchester. I have been going to parts of it for over 30 years but the modern museum of MOSI is so different from the old 1970s and 1980s one.  Yesterday we went as part of a group of northern bloggers to help showcase what the museum has to offer families of all ages. 

There is so much to do and lots of it is interactive and hands on. Can you spot my family up on the screens:

There are lots of different galleries to explore - click on the names to see more about each from the MOSI web site:

I have to admit that there are still parts of the museum we haven't visited which I guess makes a great excuse for going back! I will tell you about which ones we did see this time.

At the weekends one of the most popular activities is taking a ride on a steam train. The site is built on the location of the world's first passenger railway station so its very fitting to take a ride in replica early carriages pulled by a refurbished steam train. Well worth the charge of £2 per adult and £1 per child - do check the timetable before coming to the museum:

It was a chilly but fun ride so do wrap up warm if going on a cold day as the carriages are open. Also be prepared to queue but it was a fun way to see the whole site and get some views of the Manchester skyline as you went.

One of the galleries that grown ups love the most is the Power Hall. This is the one I can remember from my childhood with its noisy working machines. These are all still there either as replicas or ones that have been rescued from elsewhere and they show how steam came to revolutionise industry in the 18th and 19th centuries:

We were lucky to see two live demonstrations through the day with a gentleman acting as James Watt to explain how steam engines worked and how he improved them. Plenty of audience participation. He then had one running to show us exactly how it worked. For the children Forgetful Fireman Fred helped them learn how a steam train worked by encouraging them to correct his mistakes. They all had a good time with this talk and joining in with appropriate sound effects and actions:

Once my son heard about the 4D film Robin Hood he immediately wanted to go so we crossed the site to the 1830 Warehouse to purchase our tickets (£4 and £3). As we had to wait for the film to start there was time to have a look at the historical displays about the history of Manchester from Roman times through to the Industrial Revolution. I didn't get given much time to read the boards but there were plenty of models and artifacts for us all to see:

We all enjoyed the movie which included getting sprayed with water and jolted around to fit with the action! A nice extra treat to add to the day. 

Then we descended into the cellars to see the Underground Manchester exhibition. This fascinated the children as it was all about the history of sanitation and included reconstructions of toilets and sewers (complete with smell!) and interesting facts about sewage and clean water.

My daughter's favourite part of the museum is Experiment! which is hands on science for children (and adults). There was plenty to get them thinking and finding out what happens if I... Its adjacent to the restaurant so with older children you can leave them in there for a while and enjoy a coffee..

The Textiles Gallery celebrates Manchester's history as a cottonopolis. There are machines from all stages of the cotton making process and sometimes they run demos showing them in action (we saw them at Christmas and my children found it too loud!). Having had ancestors in woollen mills in the 19th century it showed me what awful conditions they must have worked in if the noise from these machines was only a fraction of what a proper working mill was like:

Whilst there we also sampled the lunch in the restaurant with nice homemade soup and children's pick and mix lunches. I resisted the fresh baked pizzas but we did return for yummy cakes later in the day..

We will be back there later in the year and I hope to see the parts of the museum I still haven't been too. I do want to spend time in the air and space section as that is the other part I remember from my childhood. It is quite tempting to go back without the children so I can have more time exploring but I know they would be very angry with me if I didn't take them!


  1. Great write up, it really is a terrific museum isn't it? Lovely to meet you there.

  2. thanks! yes one of my faves anywhere in the world. lovely to meet you too


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