STEAM hosts activities for families over February half-term

Swindon’s STEAM Museum hosts activities for families over February half-term

A programme of educational family-friendly activities will begin at STEAM from next week.

STEAM’s award-winning displays offer a great day out with something for everyone to enjoy. Housed in a restored Grade II listed railway building, the Swindon Borough Council-owned museum takes visitors on a journey into the heart of the Great Western Railway.

Exhibition areas celebrate the men and women who built, travelled on and operated the GWR, under the direction of renowned Victorian engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

Visitors to the museum can view three special exhibitions exploring the story of modernisation on the Great Western Railway. ‘High Voltage’ illuminates the story behind the electrification of the Western network; ‘The Diesel Decades’ looks at the early diesel experiments by various railway companies; and ‘Changing Trains’ explores the series of events that led to the end of Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s Broad Gauge system.

Families are invited to take part in educational bridge building workshops on Monday, 13 and Wednesday, 15 February. Budding civil engineers and designers will have the opportunity to build bridges using Polydron construction materials. The sessions are ideal for developing important STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) skills. To take part, visit the museum next to Swindon Designer Outlet on either day between 10.30am and 12.30pm, or between 1.30pm to 3.30pm.

STEAM’s fortnightly Meet the Railway Workers experience is also back on Saturday, 18 February. Hosted by the museum’s friendly and knowledgeable volunteers, this activity offers visitors the chance to enjoy guided tours of STEAM and climb aboard iconic Swindon-built locomotives, including: No. 3717 City of Truro, No. 6000 King George V and No. 2818. Family activities are included with STEAM Museum admission and are free to STEAM season ticket holders.

In addition, an awe-inspiring 3D re-creation of the Sun will be making its debut at STEAM as part of the Festival of Tomorrow. The six-metre light artwork is a visual feast presenting data from NASA’s solar Dynamic Observatory in stunning 360 degrees, with smoke effects to mimic the outer atmosphere of our hottest, closest star.

Visitors to the exhibition will witness 10 weeks of the sun’s life in 12 and a half minutes as it cycles through temperatures ranging from 4,500 to 10 million degrees centigrade.

The Sun installation is free to view in STEAM’s Great Western Hall between Monday, 13 and Sunday, 19 February. The installation is funded by the UKRI Science and Technology Facilities Council.

Councillor Matty Courtliff, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture, Heritage, Leisure and Town Centre Experience, said: “STEAM is always a great day out for all the family, especially during the school holidays. This February half-term will be no different with our educational bridge-building workshops providing plenty of fun for all budding Isambard Kingdom Brunels.

“We also have our fantastic award-winning exhibitions which tell the fascinating story of how the Great Western Railway evolved through the years and, of course, our popular Meet the Railway Workers sessions are not to be missed.

“But perhaps one of the highlights will be the 3D re-creation of the sun as part of the Festival of Tomorrow, which is well worth a visit on its own.”

Visitors can find out more and book tickets by visiting our February half-term page.

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