National Media Museum (Bradford, UK)

On our way back from completing the Yorkshire Dales Three Peaks Challenge, Minh and I stopped into the National Media Museum in Bradford. It was kind of a random stop, since we hadn’t planned what we wanted to do the day after the hike (mostly because we weren’t sure if we’d be able to walk much). I’m really glad we decided to visit the National Media Museum.

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It’s a really cool museum about the history of media in the UK and around the world (somewhat). It’s organized really well, with different areas of the museum dedicated to different forms of media… for instance, Kodak Gallery– history and evolution of photography on the lower level, Life Online – the internet and how our communication and lives have changed on the ground floor, etc. etc. It’s also great for kids because there are lots of interactive exhibits – a Games Lounge with old time video games, Experience TV where they’ve set-up studio sets so you can try your hand at being a newcaster or a cameraman or other parts of TV entertainment, and the Magic Factory, which I think was my favorite. It’s a whole exhibit with demonstrations on the scientific principles of light and color, specifically for children (although we had a lot of fun in it too). The temporary exhibition was called Only in England, and consisted of a collection of photographs by Tony Ray-Jones and Martin Parr. Having lived here for a little over a year already… I can confirm that the subjects and subject matter in the photographs are definitely things you would only encounter in England.

Two big bonuses going for this place… first, it’s FREE. There’s a donation box at the entrance if you want to contribute any amount. There’s also a charge for some special events or if you want to watch a movie (they have an IMAX screen), but it’s pretty normal on pricing. The second is the BFI Mediatheque. Basically, they’ve set up a dozen or so persional viewing stations, and you can watch from a selection of “the rarest and the most extraordinary films and TV programmes from the BFI National Archive” (over 2,500 titles). Your limited to only 30 minutes, but I think you can extend the time if you speak with the attendant. Minh and I started watching The Dark Eyes of London, which is essentially a horror movie about insurance fraud starring Bela Lugosi. I think it was supposed to be a horror film when it was originally made, but I found the limited parts that we did watch of it to be hilarious.

The cafe is also pretty good. So if you’re ever passing through the Leeds/Bradford area and have a few hours to kill, I would definitely recommend stopping into the National Media Museum.

National Media Museum
Bradford,
West Yorkshire,
BD1 1NQ
Open daily 10.00 – 18.00

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