Tuesday, 24 March 2015

National Media Museum, Bradford

Further to my recent post about the Jorvik Viking Centre in York, I have now also visited the National Media Museum in Bradford.

Admission to the National Media Museum is free, although donations are welcomed. Being ever happy to help support museums, I gave the suggested amount of £3. The museum is divided into various "floors" or levels, each area devoted to a particular topic or category - photography, cinema, television, the internet, gaming and even animation.

The building is well-appointed and quite modern, but it has a pleasant ambience. One of my predominant impressions was how much content and information they have managed to pack into the space available. There is an impressive volume of exhibits and "artefacts", which are amply complemented by the multimedia elements. The written displays are concise, but informative and helpful.

I was most impressed with the section which deals with photography. There is real depth and detail in its depiction of this field, including the evolution and development of the science and technology associated with photography, as well as its social impact and economic aspects. There is an abundance of material to observe here, much of it possessing real period charm.

There is a compact but vibrant area dealing with the internet, its development, its effects and its future. Again, much emphasis is placed on how we arrived at where we are now, with some items which will stir much nostalgia for people of a certain age.

I also enjoyed the part of the museum which looks at the subject of animation. Comprehensive and exuding attention to detail. The television section includes much focus on production and planning, in addition to the history of the genre. Once again, lots of excellent and noteworthy items to be seen, tracing the progression of the technology. The sheer quantity is admirable, as is the inventive way in which it is presented.

All in all, the National Media Museum was a bit of a revelation to me, in its level of erudition and the breadth and scale of the material on view. I would recommend to potential visitors that they set aside a decent amount of time, to enable them to get the full benefit of what the venue has to offer, and to absorb the information. If this is done, then much enlightenment and enjoyment is to be had. Educational, stimulating and also great fun!

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