ABERDEEN Science Centre is set to unveil its transformational new look on Wednesday, November 4, when it will officially reopen to the public.
The centre, at the Tramsheds on Constitution Street, has been completely transformed over the past two years as part of a major £6million redevelopment project to create a forward-looking science centre.
The work includes an extension and creation of a new mezzanine floor, almost doubling the exhibition space, while natural light now floods into the building thanks to an exposed roof structure, creating an airy and modern interior with corporate meeting spaces and a new café operated by Grub.
Visitors will be able to explore more than 60 new interactive exhibits across six new zones: Energy, Space, Life Sciences, Make It and Test It as well as a special area for the under-6s.
The hands-on Shell Learning Zone will allow children and adults alike to discover more about science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and their everyday applications.
A brand new feature is The OPITO Theatre of Energy, a one-of-a-kind immersive experience featuring three interactive displays – The Story of Energy, an Energy Wall and an interactive Energy Game.
RoboThespian, a humanoid acting robot sponsored by the centre’s Digital Futures Partner, Equinor, is also one of the new attractions.
The brand new content supports ASC’s commitment to inspire a lifelong interest in science, by creating engaging experiences which are fun, informative and educational.
Many of the new exhibits have been designed and manufactured by Germany-based Huttinger Interactive Exhibitions, one of the leading experts in the field.
Following staff training and behind-the-scenes testing with invited guests, the doors will open to visitors at 10am on November 4.
Bryan Snelling, chief executive at Aberdeen Science Centre, said the long-awaited reopening was a milestone in the centre’s history.
“We are so excited to have an official date for reopening Aberdeen Science Centre to the public after being housed in temporary accommodation to allow for this major redevelopment, which has taken a little longer than originally planned due to the global pandemic,” he said.
“Visitors will enjoy a completely new experience in a venue which is still familiar, and thanks to our sponsors and funding partners we have been able to create new and engaging exhibits and themed educational zones for people of all ages to explore.
“I can also reassure our visitors that over the next few weeks, we will be testing and trying out all the new resources and processes to ensure we comply with COVID-19 guidelines to make sure we are ready to open safely to our first visitors on Wednesday, November 4.”
Aberdeen Science Centre’s £4.7million redevelopment was made possible by generous support and funding from the Inspiring Science Fund – a partnership between the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and Wellcome – with additional funding provided by Opportunity North East (ONE) and Aberdeen City Council.
The project has secured a further £1.5million from funders and sponsors including OPITO, Shell, Equinor, bp, The Robertson Trust, TAQA and CNOOC International to deliver quality exhibits and programmes to enhance the overall visitor experience at the venue.
Fundraising is ongoing for future programmes and activities to engage visitors in science.
Jill Glennie, External Affairs Director, OPITO, said: “We are tremendously excited about seeing our immersive and educational energy theatre brought to life as part of the science centre’s incredible transformation. Experiences like this are crucial in driving deeper engagement amongst the next generation and will help inspire the future science and engineering talent needed across the breadth of the energy sector in the coming years. As well as offering something for everyone to enjoy, The OPITO Theatre of Energy will highlight the importance of oil and gas in an increasingly diverse energy mix, and how this will be shaped by public demand as we continue on the journey to net zero.”
Arne Gürtner, Senior Vice President, UK and Ireland Offshore for Equinor, said: “We all know that our energy system has to change and while we are working on alternatives including offshore wind, hydrogen and carbon capture, digitalisation is a key enabler. Digital tools, robotics and artificial intelligence support our transition to a low carbon future, along with safe and efficient operations here and now.
“As Digital Futures Partner, we bring this to life in the new Aberdeen Science Centre through RoboThespian the robot. We very much hope this interactive experience encourages young people to learn more about our industry and the vital role they too can play in helping us reduce carbon emissions.”
Steve Phimister, Shell UK upstream vice president, said: “The way we live is increasingly being shaped by science and technology, and so our vision is to help equip future generations of problem-solvers and innovators with the understanding to lead us as society changes. It will bring economic success and opportunities to the UK and enable our brightest minds to help address some of the biggest challenges we face, for example by helping in the complex transition to a low-carbon economy.
“We want the UK – and this part of it in particular – to have the pipeline of engineering skills and scientific ingenuity to make a big difference in the decades to come. That’s why our partnership with the Aberdeen Science Centre is so important.”
Visitors will be asked to book a slot ahead of their visit. Booking will open in mid-October and will be available through the Aberdeen Science Centre website.