Update: The Thackray Medical Museum is currently closed, undergoing a £4 million refurbishment. When they reopen it’s going to be even bigger and better than our experience was.
We received an invitation to visit the Thackray Medical Museum in Leeds. It was awesome! I Love Leeds, and anything that includes a museum, days out with kids, LEGO and Make-up is the perfect recipe for a great way to spend time as a family.
The Thackray Medical Museum In Lego
Some time back, a friend of mine bought my girls their first LEGO set. I know. Bad Mom! They should have had LEGO ages ago, but because I hate cleaning up after them, and standing on small sharp things on the carpet in the middle of the night, I had successfully avoided it. But, thanks to a said friend (Chanene from Tonic & Tiaras), they were soon hooked!
The Thackray Medical Museum is currently fundraising to raise £4 million to restore and preserve its Grade II Listed Museum Building. They are building a replica of the museum building out of LEGO bricks. Each LEGO brick costs £1. So for each Pound raised, you get to place your brick on the LEGO replica of the building, and your money goes towards helping preserve this historic building. So, using LEGO bricks,
£150,000 could be raised to contribute to this using LEGO!! How fantastic is that?
As well as the LEGO building that is going on in the main reception area, they also have a little LEGO figure treasure hunt going on. Hidden throughout the museum are pictures of medical icons throughout history made out of LEGO. The kids are given a checklist at reception. Spread throughout the museum are little LEGO icons of Medical Marvels. The kids get to hunt them down and check them off their list. My two little girls loved it! I loved this. It’s a great way to keep kids interested and engaged while learning too.
The Displays & Interactive Learning
One of the things I loved the most about the Thackray Medical Museum was the exquisite attention to detail and the way they whole museum seems to have been created with the knowledge that kids love to touch, hear, see, smell and experience life. Everything was laid out and displayed in such a way that my girls, age 7 and 5, were able to see, and understand.
The whole journey through the museum took us from life in the Victorian quarter, and what it was really like back then. It clearly showed us how unsanitary life was, and how far we have come. Thank goodness.
Medical Advancement Through The Ages!
From there, you can see the advancement in medicine through the decades. Not just medicine, but the medical equipment as well. It was particularly interesting for me to see the display on childbirth. Back in the days, the father wasn’t even allowed in the room. And then you compare it to modern-day life. Thank goodness for progressive thinking!
One of the more memorable displays was the one where they showed what happened when a young girl child was injured working in a factory. The story takes you right the reality of her injury, from start to finish. It shows how, after her accident, she had to be carried to the medical facility. It then follows her journey right through to the reenactment of the amputation of her leg. I thought my girls would be a bit upset or even scared, but they loved it. They were a bit anxious as to what they were going to see, but in the end, the build-up to the video of the surgery was far gorier than what they saw. Well done to the creators of that!
As someone who has had both my hips replaced at the age of 34, it was very cool to show my girls what my body looks like inside. True Story. It’s also a reason why I don’t run! Anywhere. If I can help it. I probably can. I just don’t want to and see it as “preserving my joint”!
The Children’s Learning Area
The Special Effects Make-Up Session
As part of the half-term week, they had various workshops running which were right up our street! It was a workshop using makeup to recreate three of the diseases that would have been common back in the Victorian era. The Black Death, Gangrene, and Smallpox! My 15-year-old makeup-obsessed step-daughter was with us too. While she loved the whole museum, the makeup session was what she was most looking forward to. Using makeup effects more commonly found on movie sets, the girls all got to recreate their own gross and disgusting, diseased hands.
All I’m saying is, that I’m really glad smallpox is not something we have to worry about anymore. Otherwise my girls would never eat rice krispies! And that would be a tragedy!
Visiting The Thackray Medical Museum In Leeds
I am sure that from the sheer number of pictures and videos on this post that you will get some sense of how amazing we think the Thackray Medical Museum is. Here are a few other things you should know when planning your visit:
- Pay & Display parking is available on site.
- There is a reasonably priced restaurant and coffee shop at the museum
- I’d allow at least 3 hours minimum to enjoy the whole experience properly.
- Purchasing your tickets gives you access for a whole year! If that isn’t value for money, I don’t know what is.
- There are meeting rooms available for hire.
- Please keep an eye on their website to see what events they have coming up.
Something For Everyone!
While I attend things like this with my kids, this is not one of those things that are just for kids. It’s not. There is something for everyone of all ages, from tired moms who used to use their brain a lot more to history buffs, secondary school students and primary school children too. It’s a fascinating museum and one of the attractions that Yorkshire should be very proud of!
Thank you to the Thackray Medical Museum for inviting us. We all had an awesome day!
Disclaimer: We received complimentary entry to the museum and tickets to the special effects workshop in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.