The museum is completely free and has 6 floors to explore. We have been before – we didn’t have a baby then – and really enjoyed it. Me and Ollie both have backgrounds in studying media, photography and film so it was really interesting for us!
First we headed to the animation level. If you have any interest in the history of animation, how it works and are interested in looking at stills from films and videos, then you’ll enjoy this gallery. There is also an arcade full of old school games like pin ball and pac man; games lounge, which are all in working order!
The animation gallery is very informative and a good place to learn all about animation and how animation is made, lots to look at from stills to mini videos and figurine sets, but best suited for teenagers and adults. Although there are a few hands-on interactive bits and bobs to play with which are fun for both parent and child! There’s old cartoons to watch, models to look at and Eric loved playing with the zoetrope.
Next we went to the TV gallery; I remembered that when we had visited before there was a real TV set where you could pretend to do the weather and news, called “experience Tv”. We couldn’t wait for this and to get photos of Eric as a news reader! But… it was closed 😭 only the usual gallery with cabinates and exhibit were in the TV gallery. It was okay but there was nothing interactive and we were really disappointed about the experience TV area being closed.
We went to the magic factory gallery next, which I remember being willy wonka-esque, with funny mirrors and the like! Definite fun for kids!
Suited towards older children and adults (everything is high up meaning we had to lift Eric so he could touch and see most things) it is still a very fun gallery! The decor is cool, it’s a small enough room that your toddler isn’t going to disappear and you can keep an eye on them, and there’s some really absorbing experiments to play around with. Me and Ollie laughed a lot and couldn’t believe some of the mind boggling illusions.
We finished up with the Life Online exhibit which is for teenagers and adults. It was engaging to learn about the history of the internet and think about how much of an impact it has made on us today. It definitely applied to us!
It’s definitely worth a visit with it being free, and there is something suitable for all ages so it would make a good family visit; with young ones, parents, grandparents, etc. We didn’t go in some of the galleries or the IMAX so there’s still more to do that we haven’t shown. However, I was really disappointed about the Experience TV and hope they bring it back.
It isn’t somewhere you would stay longer than an hour or so with a baby, but it is interesting for adults too. The magic factory gallery is worth a look in if you have toddlers for a play, and the animation gallery has some interesting hands on exhibits to learn from.
I wouldn’t recommend a day out just to this museum, unless you have children of teenage age perhaps, but you could easily combine it with something else or visit if you’re in the area. Last time we came here, we combined it with a trip to the village of Saltaire which makes a lovely afternoon.
They also have cafe, gift shop and picnic areas. The museum is clean, bright and pleasant to be in.
We have a video of our time at the national media museum, which you can see here: https://youtu.be/rw2SVc47-1s
Thanks for reading 🙂
National media museum website: http://www.nationalmediamuseum.org.uk/planavisit/exploreourgalleries