Eureka! anniversary is busiest year for two decades amid Halifax ‘renaissance’

Eureka! children's museum in Halifax had its biggest visitor numbers for two decades in 2017, its 25th anniversary year
Eureka! children's museum in Halifax had its biggest visitor numbers for two decades in 2017, its 25th anniversary year

Eureka! The National Children’s Museum is celebrating its busiest year in two decades, having welcomed 303,545 people through its doors in 2017 - the museum’s 25th anniversary year.

It was the highest number of visitors since 1998 and the numbers were buoyed by the opening of the Spark Gallery, launched in July, which featured the European premiere of futuristic technology-led exhibition digiPlaySpace.

The new digiPlaySpace helped Eureka! achieve its biggest visitor numbers for two decades in 2017, its 25th anniversary year. Picture by Jonathan Pow

The new digiPlaySpace helped Eureka! achieve its biggest visitor numbers for two decades in 2017, its 25th anniversary year. Picture by Jonathan Pow

The exhibition was created by Toronto International Film Festival and it gave Eureka! its busiest summer since 1998, with the museum extending its original six-month run to Easter 2018 due to popular demand.

Sir Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire said: “It’s fantastic to see Eureka booming as it’s marked its 25th anniversary, with the best visitor numbers in almost 20 years.

“The new gallery has obviously added some extra ‘spark’ to this already well loved and unique family attraction.

“Halifax is experiencing a wonderful renaissance right now and it’s great to see Eureka! at the heart of that success.”

Eureka! Chief Executive Leigh-Anne Stradeski said: “There is no better end to the celebrations for our 25th anniversary year than knowing the last 12 months saw so many people flock to Eureka! to enjoy everything we have on offer.

“The huge increase in numbers was very much down to lots of new first-time visitors from across the UK coming to see digiPlaySpace, which is so pleasing as it was a very different exhibit for us.

“Many other visitors have been families coming back twice or more using our innovative ticketing system where people pay once and return as many times as they want over a year.”

She added the museum was looking westward to develop a second Eureka! on the west coast.

“We are now looking to the future with our plans for a second Eureka! in the Mersey region, in partnership with Merseytravel and Wirral Council,” she said.

“And before then, we can’t wait to make 2018 another year to remember.

“We’ll be revealing more details soon but I can say we have a digital art exhibition coming to Eureka! this summer that we know everyone will love.”

Holly Lynch, MP for Halifax, said: “I have such fond memories of Eureka! opening when I was just six years old and so it has been an absolute pleasure to champion everything that it has to offer as the MP for our town, 25 years on.

“I am delighted last year’s celebrations brought record numbers of visitors, which is great for Eureka! and great for Halifax.

“Well done to the Eureka! team for making it such a fantastic year and I will look forward to working with you towards the next 25 years.”