The Museum of Classic Sci-Fi

Hello!  My name is Neil Cole- you’ll never have heard of me before, but like you, I adore science-fiction and have an especial passion for classic ‘Doctor Who’.  My life’s dream has been to create a small, permanent museum, dedicated to telling the history of the SF genre…properly!  Following a year of pre-planning, all building permissions have been granted and for the last year and a half, I have become a builder, prop restorer, sculptor, curator, researcher, graphic designer, artist and whatever else (!) to get the museum ready for opening!

Overview:

Situated in the marketplace of a beautiful, historic village and nestled within the stunning scenery of The North Pennines; ‘The Museum of Classic Sci-Fi’ will tell the chronological story of the science-fiction genre, beginning in the late 1800’s with H.G.Wells. The journey will be told using original, production-made movie and television props, costumes and artwork.

Overview:

Situated in the marketplace of a beautiful, historic village and nestled within the stunning scenery of The North Pennines; ‘The Museum of Classic Sci-Fi’ will tell the chronological story of the science-fiction genre, beginning in the late 1800’s with H.G.Wells. The journey will be told using original, production-made movie and television props, costumes and artwork.

What’s going to be inside (overview):

Broadly, the museum will consist of two sections.  The first will be a detailed and personal overview of science-fiction in its entirety; the second an illustrated ‘episode guide’ of the classic series of ‘Doctor Who’.  The sci-fi history section will tell the story of the genre with an eclectic array of original, screen-used and production made items that includes titles such as ‘Dune’, ‘Star Wars’, ‘2010’, ‘Planet of the Apes’ and ‘The Outer Limits’…to name a but few.  Also incorporated is an exciting collection featuring production pieces from the ‘Marvel’ cinematic universe to highlight the impact of comics on the genre.

The second section, dedicated to the history of the classic ‘Doctor Who’ television series, will be illustrated with one of the largest collections of surviving, original, screen-used items currently in the UK. The story of the original series will be told as an ‘Episode Guide’, with as many of the original stories illustrated with a prop, costume, production made item or published artwork. Included will be a substantial collection of published work by prominent ‘Who’ artist Andrew Skilleter (who has supported the project since its inception). The intention is to give the visitor a comprehensive overview and authentic experience of the seminal, original series.

Every item in the museum has been carefully preserved and in special cases, restored. All will be displayed on bespoke displays to ensure each prop or costume is supported properly and to enable everyone the chance to share these historic cultural items for years to come.

Not just a collection:

The museum won’t be ‘just’ a collection on display. I have been carefully selecting each addition to gradually construct a ‘visual narrative’ of the genre. The focus is upon the ideas and writers who have crafted the story of science-fiction alongside the artists and makers who have skilfully realised these concepts in a broad variety of media.

This flight of the imagination is to be chronological: an exciting and nostalgic one for the hardened fan and hopefully educational and inspiring for those either new to the genre, or just passing through. In time, I hope to invite guests to the museum to give special talks and signings, providing a friendly and intimate sci-fi hub for the enthusiast.

Kickstarter 2017: why the museum needs your support!

I’m about to launch a crowd funder appeal to the sci-fi community. Creating a permanent museum to open to the public is quite an undertaking for one person. More than just a visitor attraction, at its heart, the project is preserving popular, cultural heritage for future generations. Beyond the artefacts, the building of the museum itself is a Georgian townhouse (Grade 2 listed) and has required considerable repair in readiness for opening as a museum (and safely housing fragile artefacts).  I have accomplished a great deal myself over a two year period, but to get the museum open sooner rather than later, some financial assistance would advance the time-frame massively (to get help to tackle some of the more specialist and challenging building work).  Please check in and ‘like’ the museum FB page to stay up to date with developments and if you can, help with the Kickstarter!

Neil Cole – June 2017