Cambridge’s first interactive public science centre will open its doors in February 2013.The groundbreaking UK showcase will be located in central Cambridge at 18 Jesus Lane, a Jesus College Cambridge property and part of the historical Marshall Garage.
Backed by serial technology entrepreneurs, including David Cleevely, Hermann Hauser and Jonathan Milner, the centre is still seeking a more permanent venue – as well as £5 million funding. But this is a great start and provides a platform for expansion.
Founder Chris Lennard is also accelerating plans to assemble a Cambridge Science Centre Roadshow, taking the dynamic expo to the streets of Britain. International interest in the venture is also gathering steam.
The Cambridge Science Centre is designed to inspire locals and visitors alike with exhibitions, shows and hands-on activities for all ages all year round.
The centre will be officially opened to the public by Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, on Thursday February 7.
Dr David Cleevely, chairman of the venture, said: “Cambridge is a world centre for scientific discovery and engineering excellence, and an interactive public science centre here is way overdue.
“Getting more people excited about science and technology is critical to secure future growth for the UK economy, and easy to access, memorable interactive experiences provide the sparks that inspire.”
Open six days a week including weekends, the centre will provide easy access to hands-on exhibitions brought to life by floor staff experienced in public science communication. Exhibits will be designed to be approachable by those with no background knowledge in a subject, and they will be supported by follow-up content for visitors who wish to learn more.
Workshops will be engaging and creative while supporting key learning objectives for schools and families – and for adults there will be shows and talk series run in the evenings.
The Science Centre team is working closely with researchers within the University of Cambridge and other local institutions to ensure that content is always topical and fresh for both the first time visitor and those that come back again and again.
Lennard said the venture had raised over £400k to date and would be looking for a further £1m to keep the engine ticking over until the end of 2014. It would then be seeking £5m by the end of 2014 to underpin the full array of programmes and services at both the new centre and on the road.
The Cambridge Science Centre team will be looking to work with a number of partners as it develops. Teachers and individuals interested in the exhibitions, outreach programme and workshops should email:
The Jesus Lane site will also help the initiative showcase its vision and drive a major capital fundraising campaign for a permanent home larger exhibition space in Cambridge.
• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: How the new science centre will look