ABERDEEN Science Centre (ASC) has appointed the head of Aberdeen’s only current Visit Scotland five-star visitor attraction as its new chief executive to lead the redeveloped £6 million state-of-the-art facility, which is due to open next year.
Bryan Snelling will join ASC from the city’s Gordon Highlanders Museum where he has held the position of chief executive for more than five years.
During his tenure, Mr Snelling delivered a successful fundraising campaign, generating £300,000 to safeguard the museum’s future. He recently secured a World War One Trench exhibit which helped deliver a 50% increase in visitors to the venue.
Sandy Morton, of the board of trustees of Aberdeen Science Centre, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to welcome Bryan to Aberdeen Science Centre. Bryan’s primary focus will be ensuring the new centre reflects the STEM agenda of the future. He has a wealth of experience in the tourism industry and a real passion for shaping the new centre into a major attraction for local, national and international visitors to the city, driving our lifetime with science agenda”.
“Bryan joins the organisation at a very exciting and crucial time as we look ahead to the opening of the redeveloped centre in summer 2020. A key strategic goal is to make use of the very latest technology and work with industry partners to bring science to life for many generations of visitors.”
Mr Snelling will take over from ASC’s current chief executive, Liz Hodge, who is to retire from the role in December but will continue to oversee the delivery of the redevelopment project through to its completion in summer 2020.
Mr Snelling said: “Aberdeen Science Centre has a special place in the hearts of many across the North East and I, like many others, have been following its redevelopment with much interest and anticipation.
“I’m excited about the role and look forward to contributing to the centre’s vibrant future, with the ambition of making it the city’s second Visit Scotland five-star visitor attraction.”
The centre has moved to temporary accommodation at 107 George Street to allow visitors to continue to enjoy interactive exhibits and topical science events while the refurbishment work is carried out at the old granite Tramsheds on Constitution Street.
The redevelopment will totally revitalise and transform the science centre through the installation of many new exhibits in the expanded exhibition areas and corporate space, reflecting the key priorities of the STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) agenda for both education and industry.
The transformation will include an extension and creation of a new mezzanine floor – almost doubling the exhibition space – and exposing the roof structure to allow natural light to flood into the building. It will also include major investment in new, state of the art interactive displays and exhibit content.
The £4.7 million redevelopment has been made possible by support and funding from the Inspiring Science Fund – a partnership between the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), UK Research and Innovation and Wellcome. Additional support has been granted by Opportunity North East (ONE) and Aberdeen City Council.
Fundraising is ongoing to secure a further £1.25million to ensure quality of programmes and delivery to enhance the overall visitor experience at the venue.
The centre’s vision and mission are to inspire a lifelong interest in science by creating engaging experiences, with an ambition to be recognised as the Regional STEM Hub that connects, engages and works with members of the public, industry, academia and government to highlight and promote STEM. Aberdeen Science Centre is scheduled to open at the Tramsheds in summer 2020.