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11 Nov 2020
We The Curious ready to open its biggest exhibition ever – when Covid measures allow
By Tom Walker
We The Curious ready to open its biggest exhibition ever – when Covid measures allow
The exhibition is based on 10,000 questions, collected from the people of Bristol
Photo: We The Curious
We The Curious science and arts centre in Bristol, UK, will open the doors to its largest ever exhibition – as soon as the current "Lockdown 2" measures are lifted.

Inspired by questions from the people of Bristol, the new What If exhibition consists of 68 new exhibits and 25 art pieces clustered around seven questions on different themes.

It is marketed as the first major science centre exhibition in the UK, which is centred on the curiosity of a city.

During the creative process, 10,000 questions were collected from the people of Bristol and the final result has been shaped by many different voices, from members, volunteers, community groups and school children as well as artists and researchers.

Designed by exhibition specialist Kossmanndejong and engineered by Bruns, project What If has been supported by a £3m grant awarded by the Inspiring Science Fund – a partnership between UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and Wellcome.

In addition, more than £900,000 has been donated by other funders.

The exhibition was originally scheduled to open to the public on 6 November – a day after a nationwide lockdown came into force in England.

"We were due to open the doors to our stunning new exhibition, Project What If, after almost eights months," said Donna Speed, CEO of We The Curious.

"This is the biggest exhibition we have undertaken in our 20 years, which would be a challenge at the best of times, let alone during lockdown.

"It’s incredible that we’re ready to re-open despite the odds being stacked against us. I’m so proud of team We The Curious, our partners and question askers who have created this stunning exhibition.

"As an educational charity, we are dependent on our visitors to fund all of our brilliant work so please come and see us, and check out Project What If.

"While we all have to wait a little longer than expected, when we do re-open I promise that you will be welcomed with (socially distanced and COVID secure) open arms."

We The Curious, formerly called @Bristol, first opened in 2000 and features more than 250 interactive exhibits over two floors.

Other attractions at the site include Open City Lab, a collaborative working laboratory, where visitors can meet scientists, join them in their explorations and take part in research.

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