Spirit of Invention exhibition opens in Newcastle-upon-Tyne

The National Archives is delighted to announce the launch of our free family exhibition Spirit of Invention in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. It opens to the public at the Discovery Museum on Saturday 16 March.

It’s the first time a National Archives exhibition has toured outside London.

The show features 21st century inventions including a necklace that shows how polluted the air is in real time and a robot inspired by the shape and underwater movements of a jellyfish, alongside quirky Victorian inventions from our records. A three-wheeled velocipede, an early telephone system and a self-ventilating top hat are among the designs included which were created by Victorians caught up in a national craze for innovation.

Emmajane Avery, The National Archives’ Director of Public Engagement and Sector Leadership said: “We’re thrilled that our first exhibition to go on tour is opening at the Discovery Museum. It’s subject matter aligns so well with the displays at the museum and the rich history of innovation in the North East. It’s been great working in partnership with our colleagues at TWAM.”

Keith Merrin, Director of Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums said: “We are delighted to bring Spirit of Invention to Discovery Museum for the people of the region to enjoy. The stories of inventiveness and creativity chime with those told in the museum about the great North East inventions that have shaped the nation.

“It is the first time that The National Archives has worked with a museum in this way to create an exhibition away from its London base and is part of a longstanding relationship that we have for the benefit of the communities of our region.”

Spirit of Invention will be on display at Discovery Museum until 23 June 2024. Entrance to the exhibition is free.