Astonishing Science. Spectacular museum.
Director Jean Franczyk's thoughts on what the group's newest museum, MOSI, has to offer.
"What’s striking about MOSI, what distinguishes it from every other museum in the Group is this: not only does it have an amazing collection, but a historic site that is our most precious legacy – the oldest surviving passenger railway station in the world and characteristic warehousing from 1830, the era that made Manchester the 'warehouse of the western world'.
"The architecture itself tells the story of the world’s first truly modern city and the great innovators who revolutionised manufacture, industry and trade.
"The Power Hall came back into full glory last year, and 21 pioneering engines came humming into action. To stand in their midst and smell the engine oil gives a buzz I bet the great Boulton and Watt would have envied. Those engines are powered up almost every day while even more machines in the Textiles Gallery are set running twice a day. The thrill of all that tangible power is a credit to the staff who maintain and interpret them. There are hands-on exhibits, you can watch yarn being spun – there’s an epic story to be told about Manchester and MOSI is geared up to tell it best.
"Manchester’s scientific genius reaches from Dalton and Rutherford to the creators of electron microscopes at Trafford Park and the first stored-program computer at the University of Manchester. Science underpins the region’s whole strategic plan, which has undoubtedly been bolstered by the 'Brian Cox effect', not to mention the Geim/Novoselov Nobel Prize effect. Great minds are still shaping Manchester’s future, along with very many significant business interests who have provided MOSI with generous funding in the past. We hope more will come on board to help us keep our 839,000 visitors a year coming back for more. This requires contemporary science exhibitions that connect people to where they live.
"MOSI’s greatest programming strength is also our best kept secret: curation of the Manchester Science Festival, which brings together 50 partner organisations and local universities. The team is so entrepreneurial they doubled previous visitor numbers to 115,000 last October, not just increasing family visits substantially but taking events into communities across Greater Manchester. There’s a can do energy here I hope we can build on."