Full steam ahead: Manchester’s MOSI celebrates city’s glories in Industrial Revolution

At the heart of Manchester, a city of vast culture and history, sits its Science and Industry museum, arguably the most fascinating, captivating and innovative in the whole of the North. 

And over the past week Mancunians have been powering their way to the MOSI to take in the newest exhibit exploring the Industrial Revolution – and MM joined them to check it out.

Power: From Muscle to Machine, which runs until April 27, takes a look at how society and Manchester have been moulded courtesy of the revolution in a celebration of all-things mighty, muscly and mechanical.

The age of the internal combustion engine is on show so that visitors can experience the sights, thundering sounds and gut-busting smells of the museum’s 19th century engines and machinery as they erupt into life before their very eyes.

Natalie Ireland, Head of Programmes at the Museum of Science and Industry, believes the exhibition is the perfect family day out.

“Power: From Muscle to Machine is a fantastic opportunity for all ages to really understand how science and industry has changed dramatically over the years,” she said.

“From our fun science show and creative workshops to our mill, engine and power hall demonstrations, there is something here for all the family to enjoy, do and discover.”

As well as industrial machines the exhibit also ventures back to a time when circus acts were all the rage and perhaps the highlight from the event so far has been the strongman show.

John Evans attempted to break his own world record as part of Record Holders Republic for the amount of gorilla tubs he could balance on his head, which he can achieve due to his unique body.

Gareth Redstone, an Entertainer Team Leader at MOSI told the crowds of John’s ‘fantastic physical abilities’, which far outstretch those of the typical adult male.

“John has undergone multiple tests allowing scientists and doctors to understand why he is so strong,” Gareth said.

“They found that underneath his skin lies the skeleton of a teenage athlete.”

John, who has delivered his own brand of unique entertainment over the past two decades, can not only lift a staggering amount of weight equal to that of an average man, but he can gracefully balance it on his head whilst dancing to the music and the chanting of the encouraging crowds.

Spectators were rendered awestruck that one man alone could lift such a staggering amount of weight as he broke his record for balancing 25 gorilla tubs on his head.

For those looking to take part in activities their needs are catered for with plenty of opportunities, such as Engineer Eric’s Difficult Day show, which teaches its audiences how a steam locomotive works.

Another activity for visitors to get their teeth into is Rainhill Trials Railway race game, which has been a crowd favourite and depicts the famous race from 1829.

Those involved are required to select items from various buckets -which later masquerade as crucial parts of their makeshift locomotive- and follow the provided instructions. 

The locomotive is made up of a series of colourful ice-lolly sticks, rubber tubes, masking tape and drinking straws, taped together to create fantastic models of one of the five Rainhill Trials railway contestants.

In a demonstration of the power of wind, a balloon is then attached to the end of the straws, blown into and released by the flustered parents of children eager to have their locomotive announced winner.

Whilst the game is light-hearted and fun for both children and parents, it encourages them to think about the famous railway trials, the way that engines work and spurring on the educational benefit of their visit to the museum. 

Perfect for the younger visitors, the exhibits and interactive events of the weekend left their smiles wide and their minds hungry for more knowledge.

With hands-on demonstrations, exhibits, workshops, events, games and shows for all the family, visitors to the all-new exhibit are reminded of Manchester’s important role in accelerating industry into our modern age.

For more information on their fantastic new exhibit, visit:

Image courtesy of Mari, via Flickr, with thanks

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