I have visited this museum twice in the recent years and it is always worth a visit whenever you come to Manchester. Not only the permanent displays are very interesting but also the Special Exhibitions are worth the money. The entry to the Museum's permanent collections is free for everyone, Special Exhibitions costs about 3,50 GBP entrance fee.
If you plan to visit the whole Museum of Science & Industry it is recommended to reserve a whole day for the trip through the past of technology and industrial revolution, if you are only interested in the Air & Space Hall you will need about one to two hours to see everything.
Situated in the oldest passenger railway buildings in the world, the Museum tells the story of the history, science and industry of Manchester - the world's first industrial city.
As I am very interested in the field of aeronautic, it is always a pleasure for me to visit the Air & Space Hall which is right across the street of the main entrance of the museum.
Designed by the Manchester architectural firm Mangnall & Littlewood in 1876, the Air & Space Hall began life as the Lower Campfield Market Hall. It shares a family connection with the 1830 Warehouse, because parts of its cast-iron frame were made at E. T. Bellhouse's Eagle Foundry. Edward Taylor Bellhouse was the son of David Bellhouse Jr., whose firm built the 1830 Warehouse. In about 1900, Lower Campfield Market Hall became the City Exhibition Hall. It opened as the Air & Space Museum in May 1983, and became part of the Museum of Science and Industry in December 1985.
The Air & Space Hall celebrates the Manchester region's contribution to British aviation. Pride of place goes to aircraft built by A. V. Roe & Co. Ltd (Avro), founded in Manchester by Alliott Verdon Roe in 1910 and now part of BAe Systems. Look back to the early days of flying machines in the shape of a 50-year old replica of the 1909 Roe Triplane 1. Piloted by Roe himself, the Triplane made the first flight by a British aircraft with a British engine.
The largest aircraft on display is the 1954 Avro Shackleton, built at Woodford, near Stockport. Designed to locate and attack submarines and for search and rescue, it could fly for up to 24 hours. Also on display are radar systems from this airplane, which gives the interested visitor some idea about the size of electronic devices working with tubes rather than transistors.
You can also discover the links between car production and aircraft production in Manchester. See the 1923 Harper Runabout, designed by R. Harper and made in the Avro aircraft factory.
It is not the largest collection I have seen so far but it is a real british collection with rare machines on display. The Air & Space Hall shows airplanes as well as helicopters and smaller details like jet engines, airplane models, ejection seats, etc.
Out of this World
On the balcony above the aircraft, this exhibition looks at how we have learnt about the universe and how our ideas are influenced by science fiction.
Out of this World features genuine space objects such as the NASA Gemini Paraglider. You can compare models of real American and Soviet spacecraft with fictional models, including the USS Enterprise, Fireball XL-5 and Thunderbird 3. Get a sense of life in space from the equipment and supplies issued to astronauts, such as spacesuits, food rations and sunglasses.
You can find the museum on the Internet under http://msimanchester.org.uk/
Pictures from my recent visit in the Air & Space Hall can be found under Lichtbildwerkstatt.Net
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