Museum History

Look back over the history of the Museum, from our most recent developments to the opening of the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television back in 1983.

To read about our future plans, please visit Reports, Plans & Policies.

  • New Foyer and Games Lounge

    A major revamp of the Museum foyer was unveiled in February including a brand new Games Lounge, a new temporary gallery drawing on the National Videogame Archive established in 2008 in partnership with Nottingham Trent University; a new box office; a relocated and redesigned shop and new signage throughout the Museum. One in five visitors to the Games Lounge named it as their favourite part of the Museum.

  • World's First UNESCO City of Film

    The Museum partnered other bodies from the Bradford District in a bid to become the world's first UNESCO City of Film. The bid was accepted, and the title was awarded to the City of Bradford by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization.

  • National Media Museum Launch

    In December 2006, the Museum – previously known as the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television – was relaunched and renamed the National Media Museum. The name change was motivated by the need to respond to a rapidly changing media landscape, and to extend our remit to reflect the web and new digital technology.

  • Experience TV Gallery Opens

    A new £3 million interactive gallery dedicated to the past, present and future of television opened in 2006. From John Logie Baird's original apparatus to a Dalek; where important televisions and studio cameras sit alongside Wallace, Gromit and the Play School toys. We created the only gallery of its kind in Europe, putting hundreds of objects from the Museum Collections on display.

  • BBC in Bradford

    In 2003 the Museum opened a functioning BBC tri-media studio enabling visitors to watch journalists producing material for the BBC West Yorkshire website and gather news items to be broadcast on local and national radio and television. The studio also has a television interview point with video editing equipment and an observable radio studio.

  • Bond Exhibition

    This remarkable exhibition celebrated 40 years of the world's best-known movie phenomenon - James Bond - unmissable for film lovers, Bond fans and production and design enthusiasts. The exhibition included stunning concept drawings, storyboards, costume designs and original props, from Oddjob's deadly bowler hat to Jaws' menacing teeth; all of which revealed the creative talents that made James Bond an international icon. Our exhibition toured to London, the United States and Canada.

  • NMPFT Relaunch

    The Museum's landmark building, fronted by a new glass atrium which scales the full height of the structure, was opened by special guest Pierce Brosnan following an 18-month renovation. We also launched a striking new 120 seat cinema - Cubby Broccoli, the Animation Gallery was opened, and the IMAX cinema became capable of showing remarkable 3D films.

  • TV Heaven Opens

    The Museum launched a unique gallery which enabled visitors to view classic British television programmes from 1946 onwards. TV heaven makes accessible our extensive Collection of classic television programmes, many of which are not available to watch anywhere else. It was an immediate success and continues to be so.

  • Cinerama Comes to Bradford

    Shortly after Pictureville Cinema opened, a Cinerama screen and projection system was installed. Cinerama simultaneously projects three films against a deeply curved screen, and in 1952 became the world's first wide-screen film presentation system. Pictureville is the only public cinema where this format can be screened in the UK.

  • Pictureville Cinema Opens

    The Library Theatre, situated next to the Museum, was converted into a grand 306 seat cinema. This development enabled the Museum to extend its film programme and show an eclectic mix from the history of cinema to contemporary work from around the world.

  • Live Broadcasting Studio Launched

    The Museum developed an industry standard television studio which was the first ever live broadcasting studio in a museum. The facilities were used by TV AM, Nickelodeon, Bradford University BSc students and an outreach project called Youth TV.

  • Kodak Gallery Opens

    To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the invention of photography, the Museum exhibited a selection of material from its 10,000 object Kodak Museum Collection to illustrate the story of popular photography from its early development to the present day.

  • New Television Galleries

    To mark the 50th anniversary of the first public television service, two innovative interactive television galleries were launched. These exhibits gave visitors a rare opportunity to operate cameras on a studio set with programmed sound and lighting, use vision mixers, experience reading a news item from an autocue and discover how the chromakey technique works.

  • Working with Artists

    Internationally acclaimed artist, David Hockney undertook a project during which Museum visitors watched him create a 'joiner' photographic montage based on the Museum exterior. Also in 1885, the Bradford Fellowship was introduced. This ongoing collaboration between the Museum, Bradford College, and the University of Bradford is an opportunity for artists to exhibit a body of work here, and for the Museum to acquire material for our Collections.

  • First IMAX in Britain

    In 1983, the Museum opened Britain's biggest cinema screen and became the first venue in Europe to have a permanent IMAX theatre, transporting visitors to locations around the world through a screen measuring five storeys high and boasting six channel surround-sound. IMAX continues to be our biggest attraction.

  • The Museum Opens

    The National Media Museum first opened as the National Museum of Photography, Film & Television in Bradford in 1983, with a remit to explore the art and science of the image and image-making.