If you have not experienced the wonder of the SS Great Britain then you are missing a real treat. We were invited as a family to experience Being Brunel, a new museum experience to compliment the SS Great Britain Museum in Bristol.
Transported to Brunel’s Time
From the moment we arrived at the harbourside location we were transported back to Brunel’s time. Our tickets even looked like a passenger’s ticket and as we made our way around the Dockyard Museum we could emboss the boarding cards as if our passage were around the world.
The Dockyard Museum also has the brand new Global Stories feature where we picked up a boarding card before we went aboard the ship. We could choose from 36 characters who were either crew or passengers on board the SS Great Britain. Each card included details about the individual based on ships records and personal diaries.
“Introducing the Global Stories project, a huge new database of the passenger and crew members of the SS Great Britain. Three years in the making, it charts the origin and journey of over 30,000 of the ship’s inhabitants. Interact with the database both at Brunel’s SS Great Britain and online to learn more about life on board, and find out if your own ancestors travelled on board the ship.”
The first screw-propelled, ocean-going, iron-hulled steam ship
The SS Great Britain is “the first screw-propelled, ocean-going, iron-hulled steam ship – a truly revolutionary vessel and fore-runner of all modern shipping.” It’s also a beautiful ship to look at, decorated with nautical coloured flags overlooking Bristol Harbour and the pretty painted houses on the hill.
The kids absolutely loved it, especially the experience of walking around (and underneath) am iconic steam ship, looking in the tiny cabins and how it would have been for the passengers and crew. On the top deck Harry and Katie loved steering the ships wheel and being captain.
We didn’t realise just how much we would all learn, we were all amazed at everything we saw, learnt and experienced.
There were so many highlights including the Being Brunel exhibition. With a huge figure of Brunel himself overlooking proceedings (with cigar firmly in place) the two storey museum has personal belongings, drawings, notebooks, objects and a room set up just like Brunel’s office in London.
I can’t tell you what a fun and interesting day we had learning all about IKB’s life and legacy.
Being Brunel made me feel proud of Brunel. I felt proud of him for daring to be different, for being fearless to do things his own way and for bringing about such important change. Brunel had such a brilliant mind, it just shows what someone can achieve when they put their mind to it.
All of the different parts of the Being Brunel museum were so well thought out, every object, interactive feature, every stair railing has been thoughtfully considered and chosen to celebrate this iconic man and ship. The children loved playing Great Trumps and learning as they played.
We LOVED that the museum was fully interactive, we were encouraged to touch everything, open drawers and discover things for ourselves.
We thoroughly recommend spending the day at the museum and experience Being Brunel, there is a restaurant attached and it was a brilliant family day out. We left feeling really inspired and happy.
Have you ever been to the SS Great Britain? If so let us know what you thought about it.
“THE TIME IS NOT FAR OFF WHEN WE SHALL BE ABLE TO TAKE OUR COFFEE AND WRITE WHILE GOING NOISELESSLY AND SMOOTHLY AT 45 MILES PER HOUR – LET ME TRY” IKB, 5th December 1831