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Family Entertainment: Eureka! achieves fundraising milestone for new landmark gallery

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Related: The Murder at Heureka exhibition turns visitors into crime scene investigators / Eureka! appoints director for London project

Eureka! The National Children’s Museum is celebrating the New Year £2 million closer to the creation of a brand new gallery, ‘Me and My World’.

Following a £315, 000 donation from the Wolfson Foundation, the ‘Me and My World’ fundraising campaign has raised just over £2 million towards the £2.9 million goal, since fundraising began in September 2009. The new gallery will open in 2012, replacing the beloved ‘Me and My Body’ gallery in the museum, which remains one of Eureka!’s most popular areas since its opening in 1992.

Tudor Gwynn, Projects Director, said: ‘Children need to learn about themselves to be able to understand the world around them, and this is why ‘Me and My Body’ remains one of our landmark galleries. The new ‘Me and My World’ gallery will be dedicated to science, health and well-being, consolidating over 20 years of gallery development and operational experience in captivating children and their families through playful learning’.

The first year of fundraising has been extremely successful in a difficult financial climate. The first and biggest financial donation came in April 2010 when Eureka! was awarded £1.45 million from the Wellcome Trust. 

Clare Matterson, Director of Medical Humanities and Engagement at the Wellcome Trust, says: ‘We hope that others will join us in supporting Eureka! This excellent museum with a strong track record does exceptional work and provides an excellent opportunity for children to engage with science and medicine through learning, interaction and play’.

Over the past six months, Eureka! has made significant progress towards securing £2 million for the new gallery; through grants from trusts and foundations including another substantial award from The Garfield Weston Foundation for £250, 000 and by involving the public with donations on their visits to the museum and through online fundraising tools like The Big Give which have raised over £13, 000.

Leigh-Anne Stradeski, Chief Executive of Eureka! said: ‘The past year’s success in raising funds for a new gallery is heartening for Eureka!, as even in an uncertain economic climate it demonstrates enormous support for the important role we have in providing opportunities for families around the UK to learn together through play’.

With the success of the capital campaign, Eureka! is now shifting its focus to securing corporate donations and exhibit support, and to encouraging individual giving from the visitors who enjoy Eureka! year-round.  Contributions towards the development of Me & My World can be made on-site during a visit and when booking a visit online using the recently introduced booking system on the museum website.

Me and My World will be organised around three inter-connected themes: Me, My World and My Choices. Visitors will be able to learn about themselves through observation, explore how their health and actions compare with others locally and in other countries. and learn about how their choices affect themselves and others around them. Me and My World will retain the exploratory environment loved by children in Me and My Body, while expanding the Eureka! commitment to immersive environments and role play opportunities. 

The Eureka! Projects and Exhibitions team has been busy throughout the gallery fundraising period developing ideas for exhibits and experiences within Me and My World. The team has undertaken vast amounts of research into developing the themes for the galleries and visited exhibits in science centres across the UK. As with all Eureka! projects, children have remained at the core of the consultation process, and will have many more opportunities to offer their input as the project moves into the design phase.

Eureka! is designed especially for children age 0-11, with over 400 hands on exhibits inspiring them to learn about themselves and the world around them through imagination, play and discovery. For visitor information call 01422 330069, visit www.eureka.org.uk, read the Eureka! blog, All in a day’s play, become a fan on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

The standard Eureka! ticket is now an Annual Pass. The Annual Pass entitles all of the party paid for on the day of the first visit to come back to Eureka! free of charge as many times as they like over the next 12 months. Adults*: £9.95, Children age 3+ : £9.95, Toddlers age 1-2: £3.45, Babies age 0-11 months: free. Read more about the Annual Pass.

Eureka! is open daily 10am–5pm at weekends, during half-terms and holidays. Term-time Eureka! is open 10am –4pm Tuesday – Friday, and 10am-5pm Saturday and Sunday. The museum is closed on term-time Mondays and between 24-26 December.

Eureka! is situated next door to Halifax railway station, just 10 minutes by car from junction 24 of the M62 and 17 miles from Leeds

Eureka! is an educational charity no. 292758

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