Project What If
*Our building is closed at the moment, following a fire in April 2022 - we don't have a reopening date just yet, but as soon as we do, we'll let everyone know. Please see our News section for more information.*
It all starts with a question...
Escape into a world of possibilities in our major new ground floor experience, Project What If.
Inspired by questions from the people of Bristol, and featuring 69 new exhibits, this is a space where art and science collide.
Included with a general admission ticket.
The question constellations
Interactive exhibits, films and installations are clustered around 7 intriguing questions asked by our visitors and community.
From the science of happiness to the nature of time, you’ll find some of life’s big mysteries explored in new and exciting ways.
Come and play, turn invisible, peer inside the Tardis, broadcast a message into space, think about what makes you unique…and then leave us your own burning questions. Who knows where they might lead?
Open City Lab
Our new ground floor is also home to Open City Lab, a collaborative working laboratory, where you can meet scientists, join them in their explorations and take part in research.
The Box gallery
Take a pause for reflection in ‘The COVID-19 Diaries’, an edited collection of personal stories from Bristol and beyond in our dedicated gallery space.
The John James Theatre of Curiosity
A place for questioning and discussion. Explore questions, discuss ideas and connect with others in one of the daily events here, and leave your own questions in our digital question space.
Project What If is inspired by questions from our visitors and community. Many voices have helped to shape the experience.
As well as traditional science content, you’ll find individual stories and subjects that you might find unusual in a science centre, such as religion, sexuality and mental health.
One of the questions featured is around the sensitive topic of Illness, featuring striking photography from artist Jack Powley. You may wish to read more about these images and the exhibition content before you visit.
During your visit, you can chat to our Live Science Team on the exhibition floor about any of the content that you see. Please get in touch if you’d like further info
Project What If is the first major science centre exhibition in the UK all about the curiosity of a city. Read the full story, starting with a campaign to collect 10,000 questions from the people of Bristol.
The support for the charity and new exhibition has been hugely successful in addition to this, with over £900,000 donated by other generous funders including:
John James Bristol Foundation
Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851
Garfield Weston Foundation
National Lottery Heritage Fund
Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF)
European Regional Development Fund
Charles Hayward Foundation
Britford Bridge Trust
Kirby Laing Foundation
Medlock Charitable Trust
National Lottery Community Fund
Film credit: Woven Films
Image credits: Lisa Whiting; Julian Welsh; Jack Powley.