From elephant skulls to a medieval log boat, mummy bandages and meteorites, the Discovery Centre offers a unique opportunity for hands-on exploration into the natural world, human history and ingenuity.
We are a state-of-the-art museum storage facility, storing and protecting over one million fascinating objects. The museum objects are stored in the best conditions to preserve them. This is made possible by our state-of-the-art facilities including a storage area equipped with giant shelves on wheels to maximise floor space, a specialist conservation studio and a research room – ideal for spending time to examine objects in more detail.
Did you know that only between 5 and 10% of our collections are on display in our museums and galleries at any one time? Our new Discovery Centre brings the bulk of our collections together under one roof and as we work, more of our objects are available through our searchable online database.
What isn't there to see here. We store collections from across the world, from Giggleswick to Ghana, South Leeds to Shanghai and Adel to Ancient Greece. Find out more about our world class collections by following the link below.
A taste of the activities on offer
‘Make do and mend’ sessions for adults. Our dress and textiles curator loves getting the collections out to inspire stitching, darning, knitting and design workshops.
Botany workshops for Year 6 school groups and local community groups and a temporary exhibition of the herbarium collection designed by the groups.
CSI Discovery! (Hands-on CSI-themed investigations uncovering the stories of our skeletons and skulls from our Human Remains collections). A great activity for the whole family.
A wide range of workshops and learning sessions are available for school groups at all key stages. Children and adults alike can learn from our knowledgeable and expert staff all about our objects, how to handle them, how we look after them and what they were used for. These can be tailored to your educational needs so please contact us for more details using the contact form below or by calling us. There is more information about our offer for schools and groups from the homepage or the link below.
Behind the scenes
Much of the building is home to our collections but this isn't everything by far. We have research facilities, conservation studios, quarantine areas*, education rooms, meetings rooms and then there is the office space. Curators, registrars, interns, educators, commercial and web people and more all work from this building, making it a central hub for the service.
* such as our giant walk-in freezer that kills the bugs on our objects like stuffed animals and textiles that have been out into the world before they eat and destroy them!
A high percentage of the volunteering placements we offer across our sites are based at the Discovery Centre, mostly due to the collections, facilities and number of staff on site. Volunteering opportunities might take the form of one off placements or long term group projects like the medal cleaning project. This project, working with the conservator here at the Discovery Centre, started early on in 2011 and is still going strong. It has meant that much needed work and research has gone into a key area of our collections and has offered opportunities to a number of people, not just to get experience, but to socialise and build their confidence, just like John:
"Having this opportunity has given me a real sense of self-worth again. Disability can be a barrier, but the placement at Leeds Discovery Museum has shown me that I still have lots to offer. I feel much more confident about my abilities now. I’m hoping to step forward and continue to develop myself with more voluntary work. Hopefully, this will give me the chance to realise my full capabilities.”
John is now a regular volunteer with us.
Looking for a venue?
We offer a modern venue for meetings, presentations, workshops and training events. The Education room is a flexible space which can accommodate 70 theatre-style or 25 people board-room style. It is well equipped with an interactive whiteboard, projector, internet access, induction loop system and black out blinds. The first floor meeting room is ideally suited for boardroom-style meetings in a comfortable modern space with floor to ceiling windows.
With competitive hire rates, the centre is fully accessible and also benefits from excellent rail and road links and ample free parking. Why not break up your day by booking a tour of the store for your guests and delegates? Visit the leedsvenues.org website for more information about our facilities or call us directly to make a booking.