2017: A great Eureka! year

Leigh-Anne Stradeski

By: Leigh-Anne Stradeski | Date: 10/01/2018

Opening the Spark gallery at Eureka!

2017 was a really big year for Eureka! as we celebrated 25 years of bringing extraordinary experiences in play and learning to more than 7.5 million children and families across the UK from our base here in Halifax.

To celebrate this milestone, we created a year-long programme of events and activities that included many of the very special people who have been integral to our success – friends, funders, ambassadors, colleagues, partners, staff and trustees, and most importantly our visiting public.

It all began with an enormous birthday party on Sunday 9th July to mark the day we actually opened in 1992. With lots of entertainment both indoors and out, more than 1,500 visitors to our museum and even more enjoying the celebration in our grounds, the opening of our new Spark Gallery featuring its first temporary digital arts exhibition digiPlayspace, and guest appearances by ambassadors poet Matt Abbott and cITV presenters London Hughes and Sam Homewood, it was definitely a day to remember.

Many more of our ambassadors participated in other events throughout the year and all of them were filmed talking about their own experiences of Eureka! and why they believe it is such a memorable and meaningful part of a child’s life. We also put out an open call, inviting anyone who had their own special memory about Eureka! to tell us their story and we shared many of these over the course of the year.  You can read, watch and listen to their stories on our Eureka! stories website.


As anyone who has paid us a visit knows, our warm, always-smiling and helpful staff and volunteers make the Eureka! experience what it is. So we wanted a special party to celebrate their contribution and this took place in the early part of August.  Just a little later in the year one of our many very talented staff members, Dan Blamires, chose to mark the 25th anniversary by presenting me with a pencil sketch of Eureka! which will soon hang in a prominent spot in the museum.

In September, we held a fun and unforgettable gala dinner to further acknowledge the support we’ve received over the years and the success that we have achieved as a result.  In 25 years we’ve attracted more than £22.5M in capital investment to Halifax, employed more than 2500 people and won 60+ awards. We were delighted that our Founder and Life President Dame Vivien Duffield of the Clore Duffield Foundation and the first Director of Eureka! Gillian Thomas joined us for this celebratory evening.

Dame Vivien shared many heart-warming and humorous stories of the early days getting Eureka! started with our guests and paid special tribute to the people of Halifax for the support and enthusiasm they have shown over the years.

This event was also the platform for two significant announcements about our future plans for growth and development. Working closely with Council and our neighbouring cultural and industrial partners, Eureka! is in the final stages of developing our masterplan to extend our offer both indoors and out. Depending on funding, we would hope to realise these plans within the next six to seven years. Equally as exciting, we are planning to open our second Eureka! in Birkenhead in the Liverpool City Region (LCR) on the current site of the Seacombe Ferry Terminal. Implementation of this project is also funding dependent but we are currently working towards an opening in the spring of 2021 with the full support of the LCR Combined Authority, the Local Economic Partnership and our partners Merseytravel and Wirral Council. The opening of Eureka! Merseyside would be the realisation of a long-held dream of the board of trustees to enable children from other parts of the UK, especially those in the most deprived areas who don’t have the opportunity to travel very far, to benefit from the Eureka! experience.

With a brilliant 25 years behind us, aspirations to grow in Halifax and establish ourselves in the Liverpool City Region, we aren’t standing still at Eureka! and we’re confident that the next 25 years will be as exciting, if not more so, than the first 25!

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Eureka! The National Children’s Museum
Discovery Road, Halifax HX1 2NE. Map