|Established||16 June 1983|
|Location||Bradford, West Yorkshire, England|
|Science Museum Group|
The National Media Museum (formerly the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television) is a museum in Bradford, West Yorkshire, England, and is part of the national Science Museum Group. The museum has seven floors of galleries with permanent exhibitions focusing on photography, television, animation, videogaming, the internet and the scientific principles behind light and colour. It also hosts temporary exhibitions and maintains a collection of 3.5 million pieces in its research facility. The venue also has three cinemas operated in partnership with Picturehouse Cinemas, including an IMAX screen and hosts two film festivals each year, including the Bradford International Film Festival. In September 2011 the museum was voted the best indoor attraction in Yorkshire by the public, and it is one of the most visited museums in the north of England.
The museum is on the site of a what was to be a theatre in the centre of Bradford, where work begun in the 1960s remained unfinished. The museum came about as the result of discussions between Dame Margaret Weston of the Science Museum, London and Bradford city councillors. The National Museum of Photography, Film and Television, as it was then called, opened to visitors on 16 June 1983. The museum launched Britain’s largest cinema screen, IMAX, five storeys high with six-channel sound, on the same day. During this period the museum specialised in the art and science of images and image-making since Colin Ford, its first director, believed that understanding how images are made led to appreciation of the ideas expressed and the intentions and skills of image-makers. To mark the 50th anniversary of the first public television service, two interactive television galleries were developed in 1986. These allowed visitors to operate cameras on a studio set with programmed sound and lighting, use vision mixers, read a news item from an autocue and discover how chroma keying works. These exhibits survived 2006, when the museum was renamed.
In 1989, to celebrate the 150th anniversary of photography, the museum launched the Kodak Gallery, a display of the history of photography from its invention. This was followed by the installation of a standard television studio, first used by TV-am for outside broadcasts and later Nickelodeon. These studios were the first live broadcasting studios in a museum. Today, the equipment is used to teach students from the School of Informatics at the University of Bradford, with whom the museum has a partnership for BSc and BA courses in media and television. In 1994, the TV Heaven gallery was launched, making accessible the museum's collection of television programmes, most of which are not available elsewhere.
While continuing to run the Pictureville Cinema and exhibitions in a temporary venue on the other side of the city, the museum closed its main site on 31 August 1997 to allow for a 19-month, £16 million redevelopment making the museum 25 percent bigger. The IMAX cinema was also developed to show 3D films. The new museum was opened on 16 June 1999 by Pierce Brosnan.
On 1 December 2006, the museum was renamed the National Media Museum; at the same time opening two new £3 million interactive galleries: Experience TV and TV Heaven, dedicated to the past, present and future of television. The galleries display both scientific exhibits such as John Logie Baird's original apparatus and television ephemera such as Wallace and Gromit and the Play School toys.
In 2009 the Museum partnered other bodies from the Bradford District in a successful bid to become the world's first UNESCO, (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) City of Film.
A major revamp of the foyer was unveiled in February 2010, including a brand new Games Lounge, a new gallery drawing on the National Videogame Archive established in 2008 in partnership with Nottingham Trent University. It was originally intended to be temporary but one in five visitors to the Games Lounge named it as their favourite part of the Museum and as a result a more permanent version of the Lounge' was established in another part of the cinema.
In March 2012 the Museum opened Life Online', the world's first gallery dedicated to exploring the social, technological and cultural impact of the Internet. 'The gallery includes both a permanent exhibition in the foyer and a second changing temporary exhibition on Level 7. The first exhibition to feature is [open source]: Is the internet you know under threat? - an exploration of the open source nature of the Internet and the current threats to net neutrality and the continuation of the open source culture.
In October 2014 the museum entered into a partnership with Picturehouse Cinemas with the national chain taking over the running of the three cinema screens in a bid to boost audience figures and protect the future of cinema on the site. The partnership will be referred to as Picturehouse at the National Media Museum and Picturehouse will introduce offers available across the chain to the museum.
Entrance is free with the exception of cinema screens. The museum is open 10 am until 6 pm everyday. The museum underwent a £16 million refurbishment in 1998, developing a new digital technology gallery and now hosts the BBC's Bradford offices, and studios for BBC Radio Leeds and the BBC Bradford and West Yorkshire Website. This new development created a new glass-fronted atrium, which houses a new cafe and shop.
There are seven permanent exhibitions:
The museum contains:
The museum is host to courses taught with the University of Bradford's EIMC Department including BSc Media Technology & Production, BSc Creative Media & Technologies, BSc Computer Animation and Special Effects and BA Media Studies. Subjects include broadcast television using the TV studio on its top floor. The EIMC degree show is in the Pictureville Cinema.
The museum's collection contains 3.5 million items of historical, cultural and social value, including the first photographic negative, the earliest television footage, the world's first moving pictures (Louis Le Prince's 1888 films of Roundhay Garden Scene and Leeds Bridge). It also contains original toys from the BBC series Playschool – the first programme on BBC2. The collections are accessible to the public through its Insight study centre. The collection of the Royal Photographic Society was transferred to the Museum on behalf of the nation in 2003.
The museum incorporates the first permanent UK installation of an IMAX cinema (with a second screen opening in the UK 15 years later). Opened in 1983 as part of the Bradford Film Festival with the projector visible from a darkened booth of the 4th floor, this screen runs IMAX presentations seven days a week, including IMAX prints of Apollo 13, The Lion King, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Batman Begins. In 1999, IMAX upgraded the system and began releasing IMAX 3D presentations. In June 2010 it was announced that the Ray and Diana Harryhausen Foundation had agreed to deposit the animator's complete collection of some 20,000 pieces with the National Media Museum.
The museum also incorporates the Pictureville Cinema – opened in 1992 and described by David Puttnam as 'the best cinema in Britain', Pictureville Cinema screens everything from 70mm to video; from Hollywood to Bollywood; from silents to digital sound, with certifications in presentation including THX in sound and picture and the Dolby EX system. This cinema is one of only three public cinemas in the world permanently equipped to display original 3-strip 35mm Cinerama prints. In 2008, the cinema presented the only true recorded public screening of Danny Boyle's 2002 film Alien Love Triangle.
The Museum organises and hosts three major film events every year: Bradford International Film Festival, Bradford Animation Festival, and Fantastic Films Weekend. These attract international speakers and new and classic works from around the world.
Since its inception in 1995, Bradford International Film Festival has presented new and classic films from around the world. The Festival includes the Shine Awards - highlighting the work of new European directors, and the Widescreen Weekend, which shows film formats including Cinerama and IMAX.
This animation and video games festival is host to discussions, workshops and special events. The annual BAF Awards honour new animation from around the world.
Past guests include representatives from studios such as Pixar, Aardman, Weta Workshops and Sony Interactive plus animators Ray Harryhausen, Richard Williams, Bob Godfrey, Caroline Leaf, Michael Dudok de Wit and Bill Plympton.
The festival began in 2002 as a weekend event focusing on classic ghost stories and the supernatural. It developed into an annual celebration of horror, fantasy and sci-fi cinema and television. In February 2013 it was announced that the Fantastic Films Weekend would not continue.
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