Saturday 30 March - Sunday 1 September 2024

A multi-sensory journey into 

the hidden world of the universe

Astronomy and Telescopes in the North East of England

The North East of England (NE) is embedded in a rich history surrounding the pursuit and development of astronomy. 

During part of the 1800s, Gateshead was home to the largest refracting telescope in the world, the ‘Newall Telescope’. During the second half of the 20th century, Grubb Parsons of Newcastle-upon-Tyne manufactured many important telescopes, including components for the Anglo-Australian Telescope, the UK Infrared Telescope, and the William Herschel Telescope: three of the most important astronomical observatories of the time which continue to perform cutting edge science. Today, universities in the NE are carrying out state-of-the-art astronomical research.  

'Space Investigators - Astronomy in the North East' is an STFC funded project that aims to highlight the rich astronomical history of the region and inspire the next generation of astronomers.

From March 30th to September 1st 2024 we will be celebrating this history with an interactive and immersive exhibition in the Great North Museum: Hancock. 

The Exhibition

Meet Lyra, who will guide you through the exhibition, as they investigate the evolution of telescopes and the groundbreaking discoveries made in the region. You will discover historic instruments, get hands-on with interactive activities about telescopes and space. You will be able to view life size reconstructions of the James Webb Space Telescope mirrors (over 6 meters high!) and the Newall Telescope (9 meters long!). 

Image of a child with frizzy hair and striped top. They are wearing a backpack decorated with stars. A telescope and star chart are poking out of the backpack.

Visiting Us

The exhibition will take place at the Great North Museum: Hancock, in Newcastle city centre. Find out how to visit the museum on their "getting there" pages. The museum, and our exhibition are both free to enter. The museum is open 10am-5pm Monday to Friday and 10am to 4pm Saturday and Sunday. 

We will be located in the Special Exhibition Hall 3, which is on the first floor (up one) and at the very back right-hand side of the building (as viewed from the front). You can find a map of the museum on their "visual story" booklet. Please note that you need to leave the main exhibition spaces into the back corridor to find the entrance to our exhibition room! If you need support, the reception staff will be very happy to help you. 

If you want more detailed information about how to visit us, what to expect when you visit, and the accessibility features of the exhibition please visit our Accessibility page

This Website

This website is intended to provide you with information about our exhibition. Under "Virtual Adventure" section you can also find the text that is displayed throughout the exhibition and the information (as well as photographs) about the artefacts displayed.  You can read this at your leisure, but it will also be accessible via QR codes situated throughout the exhibit. These QR codes will direct you straight to the relevant pages for that part of the exhibition. 

Exhibition Credit

Space Investigators: Astronomy in the North East is an STFC Spark funded project, led by Dr Victoria Fawcett

The exhibition could not have happened without the following people: