- Future of Eureka! announcements made at our 25th anniversary gala
- Second site talks underway in partnership with Merseytravel and Wirral Council
- Current Halifax site to boost visitor capacity by taking in heritage building next door
We’ve marked our 25th anniversary year by revealing huge expansion plans – with an aspiration to launch a second visitor attraction in Merseyside alongside the redevelopment of Eureka!’s existing site in Halifax.
Since it opened on 9 July 1992, Eureka! has welcomed more than 7.5 million visitors through its doors. A completely self-sustainable charity, the museum is now focused on the next 25 years after announcing future plans to engage and excite even more children. It’s already one of the north of England’s most popular family attractions.
Last night we hosted a gala anniversary dinner (September 21st 2017), attended by more than 80 guests, including Eureka! Founder and Life President Dame Vivien Duffield, Eureka! Chairman Peter Smart, Deputy Lieutenant for West Yorkshire Virginia Lloyd and Halifax MP Holly Lynch – as well as many Eureka! Ambassadors: Paralympian Hannah Cockroft MBE, Dr Sue Black OBE, Purnima Tanuku OBE, The Self-Esteem Team, Maddie Moate and Spencer Stokes.
During the event, Eureka! Chief Executive Leigh-Anne Stradeski revealed how Eureka! was working with the Liverpool City Region on a project to be located in the Wirral; backed by Merseytravel and Wirral Council alongside strategic support from the Liverpool City Region Local Economic Partnership and the Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram.
All are exploring the opportunity of opening a second Eureka! on the site adjacent to Seacombe Ferry Terminal, currently run by Merseytravel.
The £11 million project could open as early as 2021 if fundraising is successful and the building will be designed to focus on an older seven to 14-year-old age range; filled with things to do that develop the technical and digital skills of children and teenagers to help them meet the demands of a changing 21st century workforce.
At the dinner, Leigh-Anne also announced plans to extend the existing Halifax site into the 3600sqm (38,750 sq ft) Great Northern Shed heritage building, which is next door. The move allows Eureka! Halifax to extend the age range it appeals to while welcoming an additional 150k to 200k visitors to the museum per year. It is hoped it will open within six years.
Peter Smart, Eureka! Chairman, said: “Both of these announcements cement a strong future for Eureka! and, most importantly, an exciting and fun one for our visitors young and old. We are still in the early stages of both projects but are so pleased to finally be able to talk about them to start building the momentum for the next 25 years of Eureka!”
Leigh-Anne Stradeski added: “Eureka! has always had ambitions to extend beyond West Yorkshire and we have actively been looking for sites for development throughout the UK. The Wirral site – if it goes ahead – will be funded by grants, donations and partnerships and we have planned it to concentrate on skills-based learning while continuing to use play and discovery as a means of engagement.
“We want to create a thriving children’s community of budding scientists and engineers, actively engaging them to contribute their ideas while learning about real world problems.
“The Liverpool City Region is already home to big names across maritime, manufacturing, motoring and energy. We hope these plans for Eureka! Merseyside will excite people enough to open up opportunities for local children to aspire to work in jobs within these companies and sectors. This could fill the current skills gap by capturing their interest in STEM subjects.”
More announcements about the potential second Eureka! will be made in the coming months but it is hoped it could bring 28 direct full-time posts and 91 jobs indirectly to the area as well as boost the local economy by £6.2million.
Of the Halifax project, Leigh-Anne said: “We look forward to the new, larger site contributing to the ongoing regeneration of Halifax town centre while keeping Eureka! as a key tourist destination for the area. It will allow us more space to bring in temporary exhibitions, like the recently successful digiPlaySpace, and offer the chance to extend our offer in new directions with more arts and digital attractions.
“Everyone at Eureka! is so excited for the next part of our journey. After 25 years welcoming children, parents and grandparents – with many of those adults returning after visiting as kids themselves – we see the Halifax expansion and the new Merseyside site as crucial for ensuring Eureka! stays relevant and refreshed for another 25 years.”
QUOTES FROM PARTNERS
- Councillor Tim Swift, Leader of Calderdale Council, said: “Eureka! has been a catalyst for growth and tourism in the Calderdale region for 25 years, bringing people from all across the north of England, and beyond, into Halifax. We take immense pride in having the national children’s museum in our town, and look forward to supporting them in their exciting plans for the future.”
- Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram said: “Eureka! is a unique attraction with that rare capacity to make education and discovery enjoyable and entertaining. It would be fantastic to have Eureka! here in the City Region and I would be keen to give every encouragement to their proposed new venture. It has the potential to be a great addition to our visitor offer and an invaluable educational resource for the future.”
- Phil Davies, Leader, Wirral Council, said: “The announcement to welcome Eureka! to Wirral is fantastic news for the Liverpool City Region. A world-class, family-friendly, innovative and incredibly successful attraction like Eureka! is a welcome addition to the Mersey waterfront.“Eureka! will be a leading science and discovery centre which will not only inspire children locally, but also attract visitors from across the North West and beyond, driving additional passenger traffic onto the Mersey Ferry and increasing visitor spend across the city region.“Working with organisations such as Eureka! is definitely the way forward to promote learning while inspiring the next generations of scientists and engineers, and to also support our commitment to supply the skills for future growth and bring new businesses to the city region. This announcement is yet another compelling reason to visit and invest in Wirral and the wider city region.”
- Cllr Liam Robinson, Chair of the Liverpool City Region Transport Committee, which oversees the work of Merseytravel, said: “Merseytravel have been working with Eureka! for some time around the feasibility of a Eureka! Merseyside adjacent to our Ferry terminal in Seacombe. We are really excited by the plans and will continue to work with Eureka! and the wider City Region to bring this exciting project to reality.”