The SS Great Britain opened its new exhibition- 'Being Brunel'- on Friday and today, we went to a very sunny Bristol to have a look round. The exhibition is fascinating, combining traditional museum displays, interactive exhibits and 'Brunel's Mind', an audio-visual experience.
The ship is still in pride of place in the dry dock it was built in. As well as going on board, you can go down into the dry dock and look at the massive, rusty hull which is now being carefully preserved. The mad can also try to 'Go Aloft'- climb the rigging to the yard arm and go out along it!
The new exhibition is wonderful! Entering through the red door, there are huge chains like those Brunel is famously pictured standing in front of and a case of top hats so visitors can pose like the man himself. From there, you go through into Brunel's dining room, set up ready to entertain many guests.
From here, you enter a main hall where Brunel the Engineer is celebrated! Overlooked by a huge bust of Brunel, complete with cigar, the room is full of fascinating documents and his engineering ideas. You can sit in a railway carriage and try to draw a perfect circle whilst chugging along (this got a bit competitive!), explore the interactive map and admire examples of his work, ideas and sketches. A gallery above looks at Brunel the entrepreneur, the artist designer and the celebrity.
From here, you follow the gallery along a timeline of Brunel's life to the 'Brunel's Mind' exhibit where you see and follow Brunel's thoughts and share his experiences.
The exhibition concludes by taking you into the Dock office where his assistant welcomes you into his office, answering any questions.
'Being Brunel' is a brilliant addition to one of Bristol's greatest points of interest. It allows you to see so much of his life and work alongside 'the ship that changed history'.
You can find out more on the SS Great Britain website.