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Competition: National Railway Museum, York

The Great Hall at York’s National Railway Museum
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The Science Museum Group is recruiting a design team for a major £12 million overhaul of the National Railway Museum (NRM) in York

The team chosen for the estimated £600,000 contract will draw up plans for an ambitious redisplay and reinterpretation of NRM’s 8,300m² Great Hall exhibition space which has changed little since the landmark museum opened inside a former railway depot more than 40 years ago.

The project, planned to complete in 2021, will also deliver a new open collections store and create a new 2,300m² ‘Wonderlab’ featuring hands-on galleries and learning spaces designed to inspire future generations of engineers which will be tendered seperately. The scheme is the first phase of a wider regeneration masterplan for the popular city centre museum scheduled to finish in 2025.

Museum Director, Judith McNicol said: ‘The Great Hall is one of the largest museum exhibition spaces in the UK. The current treatment of both the historic structure and the exhibition space needs updating to be more accessible, with better interpretation to bring the many railway stories to life for our visitors. Our aim is to complete these works by 2021 as the first phase of our larger Masterplan which will create a unified museum, drawing together all the elements of our site to tell a story of rail innovations past, present and future.

‘This is a challenging, dramatic and high-profile project which will be seen and enjoyed by millions of visitors from around the world. We are seeking ambitious and capable designers that can combine a sensitive approach to displaying our much-loved railway history with bold and imaginative ideas that can help redefine what a 21st century museum should look like.’

The National Railway Museum was created on the former 8.1 hectare site of the York North Locomotive Depot in 1975 and today features more than 100 power cars and 200 other items of rolling stock. The museum is the largest of its type in the country and receives 750,000 visitors a year.

NRM’s main exhibition space – the Great Hall – was constructed in 1877 as one of nine engine sheds at the York depot housing and preparing steam locomotives for the East Coast Mainline. The enormous structure, which features a giant turntable at its centre, was used to store decommissioned steam trains from 1968 up until its conversion into a museum.

Items on display include Stephenson’s Rocket, the record-breaking Mallard and the only Shinkansen Bullet Train outside Japan. The latest project aims to deliver a ‘dramatic and coherent’ exhibition space featuring new items from the museum’s collections with a strong focus on inspiring and educating young audiences.

The deadline for applications is 4pm on 21 March.

How to apply

View the contract notice for more information

Contact details

Science Museum Group
Science Museum
Exhibition Road
London
SW7 2DD

Tel: +44 2079424000
Email: anthony.latham@sciencemuseum.ac.uk

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