Birmingham was the centre of the Industrial Revolution in England - the modern world was invented here.
Thinktank reflects that tradition of innovation in science and technology. It’s a science museum for the 21st century, mixing objects from the Industrial Revolution with hi-tech hands-on interactives. It’s all about the excitement of discovery, and bringing science to life to visitors of all ages.”
Thinktank is Birmingham’s Science Museum. Since opening in 2001, Thinktank has become one of the West Midlands’ most successful visitor attractions, providing learning and inspiration for residents and visitors to the city. It is one of the largest and most visited museums in the region, with over 246,000 visitors and users of the museum’s outreach service in 2012/13, including some 63,000 in school groups.
Thinktank shows how science and technology, past and present, underpin society and change the way we live.
We aim to combine museum objects with the latest technology to provide experiences and insights into science that are accessible, creative, and fun, inspiring the scientists and great inventors of tomorrow.
We have themed galleries that deal with a range of topics like human anatomy, Birmingham products or the natural world, alongside a programme of special exhibitions, workshops, shows, drama, art and debate.
The digital planetarium and outdoor Science Garden encourage people to explore and talk about our shared scientific heritage, science today and the world we live in.
Thinktank has been successful in attracting many non-traditional museum visitors and appealing to a young and diverse audience. We offer a huge range of activities, led by audience research into what our visitors need and want. Our innovative exhibitions combine unique objects from the days of Boulton and Watt and the beginning of the Industrial Revolution with modern scientific and technological developments.
Visitor research in 2013 shows that the vast majority of visitors to the museum are with children (90 per cent), and satisfaction levels are extremely positive, with 72 per cent stating they would definitely recommend a visit to Thinktank to friends and family.
Thinktank has themed galleries exploring the past, present and future of science and technology, alongside Birmingham’s unique industrial heritage.
Visitors can explore the amazing industrial heritage of Birmingham in ‘Power Up’ and ‘Move It’. The historical galleries display over 2,000 objects from the city’s collection, exploring the impact of science, technology and design on the lives of people in the past and present.
‘We made it – nuts, bolts, gadgets and gizmos’ features a range of interactive galleries that show just how and why Birmingham became known as ‘the workshop of the world’. Visitors are taken on a journey from raw materials to finished product, demonstrating how everyday goods are produced.
‘Kids’ City’ is a popular section of the museum, designed especially for children under 7 years old and a place where families can play and learn together.
In the ‘Wild Life’ gallery, visitors can find out how scientists study the wild world and how animals adapt to change. You can also see some of the creatures from the city’s collection of natural history, including a real Triceratops skull and a huge fossil crocodile.
‘Things about Me’ is a place for kids to find out more about how the body works. Children get to grips with guts then voyage through veins and ventricles in an amazing exploration of some basic bodily functions.
‘Medicine Matters’ invites visitors to see the exciting developments that are already in action in modern medicine, and find out how difficult it is to be a surgeon by taking part in a virtual hip operation.
In ‘The Street’, you can discover just how many remarkable science ideas are around us every day. Find out about smart ways of recycling rubbish, operate a digger, solve a crime using forensic science techniques and a whole lot more.
The ‘Futures’ gallery brings to life how science, technology and medicine have a huge impact on the way we live - now and in the future. With interactive exhibits such as Create an Alien and Mars Rover, not to mention the Planetarium, the Futures gallery aims to stimulate debate, explore scientific issues and question our place in the universe.
One of Thinktank’s most recent and most popular areas is the outdoor Science Garden, opened in summer 2012.
Visitors of all ages can get ‘bodies on’ with science through exciting and inventive exhibits including an eight metre high clanging ‘Terminus’ machine and a giant human-sized hamster wheel that has a top speed of 30 revolutions per minute.
The interactive outdoor exploration space brings themes of engineering, mechanics and transportation to life through 42 hands-on exhibits and fun zones. The Science Garden is the first project of this type in the UK and one of only a few in the world.
In total, Thinktank displays over 2,500 objects and has over 630 displays, including some 200 interactives. Some of the most important objects to see in Thinktank include James Watt’s Smethwick Engine, the world’s oldest working steam engine, the City of Birmingham locomotive, the Supermarine Spitfire aircraft (a new gallery on the Spitfire will open in April 2015) and Robothespian (a life-sized humanoid robot and automated interactive actor).