National Railway Museum launches £12 million tender for gallery redesign

The revamped Great Hall’s permanent exhibition space is part of the museum’s redevelopment masterplan, which is set to be completed by 2025.

The Science Museum Group has put out a tender for an exhibition design team to reimagine one of the permanent galleries at the National Railway Museum in York.

The tender is worth £12 million in total, and details a redesign of the museum’s Great Hall. The 8,000m² gallery and former railway depot currently houses train-related objects from both the past and present.

It will be the first time that the Great Hall has undergone a redesign since the National Railway Museum first opened in 1975, and is part of the museum’s wider redevelopment masterplan which is expected to be completed in 2025.

The tender reads that the chosen consultancy should create a “dramatic” and “coherent” exhibition that “does justice to stars of the museum’s collection”, such as Stephenson’s Rocket and the only Shinkansen Bullet Train outside of Japan.

Great Hall

The redesign will see new objects from the museum’s archive go on display, and there will be a strong focus on science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects, says the museum.

National Railway Museum director Judith McNicol, says: “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.”

Work is scheduled to start in summer 2018, with the Great Hall expected to open to the public in late 2021.

For more information on the tender, head here.

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