Visiting Bristol and need something to do? Then you must visit the new Being Brunel Museum at the SS Great Britiain
Do you know this man?
A few hints
– He is the reckless engineer
– He was quite partial to a top hat and cigar
– He built bridges, railways, ship and tunnels
– He is a big name in British history
– He was a change maker
– He’s got a pretty awesome name
Guessed it yet?
It’s Isambard Kingdom Brunel and this is a 3D statue of him at the new museum Being Brunel In Bristol. It has only just opened at the site of one his spectacular ships the SS Great Britain. It’s a must-see attraction if you find yourself in Bristol or the South West.
The museum opened in March 2018 and houses a fantastic range of artefacts from Brunel’s life. It’s taken a few years to build and once you get there you’ll understand why. There are 6 galleries which include a moving replica of a train carriage, a huge display of letters, sketched and photos, a massive mural of his life, a video show with smells and sounds to put you firmly in the past. You can see his office in London and Bristol as well as his Shakespeare dining room and the dockyard. Everything is so detailed and you can tell that it’s been built with passion and respect for the forwarding thinking legend.
The crowning glory is the gigantic statue of Brunel’s Head in the middle of the main gallery. You can see he commanded attention when he was alive and this statue is no different. It’s also very clever as you can literally walk inside his mind and experience a 6 min film of his personal thoughts (from letters and diary entries) of key points within his life and career. Most of the scenes were filmed on site and once you have seen the video you can then walk around and put yourself in the picture.
History has to be engaging these days to capture people and to teach them that we are where we are now due in the past. Both from the failures and the successes. We have access to all the news and all the information, so I really enjoy it when I see a museum or historic attraction use such interactive ways to draw in both children and adults. All of the galleries at Being Brunel allowed you to open draws, test out an old-fashioned train carriage, look at drawings, interactive video games, see how they used to make 3d pictures and even put a top hat on. In this day and age, you wouldn’t have an engineer celebrated like Burnel was and is. It’s great that children can have access to people in our past like this and not just the celebrity culture dominating the news headlines.
To see the drawings, letters and even newspaper articles of the past was amazing to get an insight into how some of the bridges and railways that are in my day to day life were first conjured up and then went from an idea to a reality.
As a photography lover, I enjoyed discovering a new contraction. They also had these great viewfinders which when a picture has been inserted it would show as a 3D image. They were really cool and I just loved the vintage photos.
My other half has long held Brunel in the highest regard so it was a must for us to visit but I can guarantee even if you have no idea about who Brunel was before you entered you would be sure glad you learnt who he was. This new museum is a wonderful celebration of Brunel and his life’s work and also a great insight into the man behind the top hat and cigar.
As Being Brunel is housed within the SS Great Britain you can also explore the majestic ship and the dry dock it’s housed in. I’ve not yet posted this yet (I promise it will be live soon!) so you can learn more about it here
Where – Great Western Dockyard, Gas Ferry Road, Bristol, BS1 6TY
Prices (as per their website in April 2018) – All tickets are for a year and you can go back and explore as many times as you like within that period.
- Adult £16.50
- Students and Seniors £14.50
- Under 4 Free
- 5-16-year-olds £9.50
- Companion or assistant (alongside a disabled paying visitor) FREE
- Family £45
Check out their website here for more details and to book tickets http://www.ssgreatbritain.org/
6 thoughts on “Being Brunel- A new must visit museum in Bristol”
I found Brunel’s work fascinating when we spent the weekend in Bristol…Looks like we need to revisit!
Looks like a definite ‘must visit’ place to go. Great post, really interesting guy – and hat!
Having just been to this museum, I agree with everything you’ve written! It was so well done that we managed to spend hours on the SS Great Britain and in the Brunel museum. Absolutely fabulous!