Three good things at MOSI in 2014: A new director, a large hadron collider and a silent disco

Susie Stubbs

MOSI may be about to wave goodbye to its current director, but the museum shows no sign of slowing down – in fact, things may be about to get giddy…

A press release popped into the large black hole that is the CT inbox this morning with a piece of very good news: MOSI, the Manchester museum of all things scientific, has just appointed its new director. And she’s a good one. Sally MacDonald, currently UCL’s director of Museums and Public Engagement, picks up the reins at MOSI this autumn.

It’s great news for a number of reasons. It won’t leave the museum – which is built on the site of the world’s first passenger railway – in limbo. It’ll ensure that the hard work of its current director, Jean Franczyk, continues, and that a promised £800,000 investment from central government will be put to good use. It means we will have another woman at the top of the cultural tree in Manchester, one who is interested in, well, interesting things: she’s co-chair of the Women Leaders in Museums Network, for example, and co-founded Heritage without Borders, an organisation that works in deprived areas and former war zones. And it also sees Sally MacDonald coming home – Manchester is where she first cut her professional teeth, as a curator at Manchester Art Gallery.

We will have another woman at the top of the cultural tree in Manchester

Yet even with directors coming and going, things appear to be trotting along at MOSI at quite a pace. The museum is a key part of this year’s Museums at Night and, on Thursday 15 May (7pm-11pm) leads a silent disco and quiz that a) is kinda kooky fun and b) part of an ongoing scientific research project. Called #HookedOnMusic, the dance/quiz combo is designed to help researchers understand why it is that people like certain songs, or what makes a song catchy. If they work it out, we might finally have an explanation as to exactly why the Simon Cowell has been so successful.

Also on the horizon is MOSI’s next blockbuster exhibition, Collider. On tour from the Science Museum, the show focuses on the so-clever-it’ll-bring-on-a-headache achievements of the Large Hadron Collider. It recreates the CERN particle physics laboratory in Geneva that belongs to the organisation behind the collider – it’s clearly hitting the right notes, pulling 25,000 visitors in the first two months alone on its London run. The exhibition, which features sound, video and theatre, as well as real objects from the bods at CERN, opens on 23 May.

So, with a new director, interesting events and the offer of £800,000 from George Osborne in the pipeline (which is the first and last time we will speak well of Mr. Osborne), MOSI is speeding towards a bright future.

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