Project What If

Have you ever wished you could slow time down or wondered if there is such a thing as the soul?

Escape into a mysterious world of possibilities in our new ground floor experience, Project What If. 

Inspired by questions from the people of Bristol, this is a space where art and science collide.

Here's what to expect...



22 May - 4 Jul

How Much

Included with a general admission ticket.


Level 0

Who for

All ages



Buy tickets

The question constellations 

Come and play with 68 new exhibits and 25 art pieces clustered around seven questions on very different themes:


Explore light, the secrets of colour and the science of happiness.


Come face to face with an early ancestor, chart our place in Earth's history, dig into unexpected stories.


Reflect on what makes you unique, explore the habitats of aliens, broadcast a message into space.


Peer inside the Tardis, become the hands on a human clock, discover how you measure something you can’t even see.


Be fooled by tricks of the light, take a close-up look at how we see, get ready to disappear.


Reflect on the nature of disease, health inequalities and how our experience of illness shapes our lives.


Get lost in moral puzzles, marvel at the beauty of our brains, have a chat with our resident robot.

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. Who knows what your question might inspire?

Exhibition content

If you've visited us before, you'll notice that Project What If is a little different from our previous exhibitions. The experience is inspired by questions from real people and has been shaped by many voices. 

As a result, Project What If explores the human side of science. As well as traditional science content, it includes individual stories and touches on subjects that you might find unusual in a science centre, such as religion, sexuality, illness and mental health. 

Our team will be on hand for any questions you have. Please get in touch if you'd like further info. 


Exhibition story 

Project What If is the first major science centre exhibition in the UK all about the curiosity of a city. It started with over 10,000 questions from the people of Bristol.

Read the full story here.


Our thanks

Project What If has been supported by a £3m grant awarded by the Inspiring Science Fund – a partnership between UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and Wellcome. 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.

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to this project.





Image credits: Julian Welsh; Lisa Whiting; Paul Blakemore. These photos were taken before the pandemic and therefore do not show visitors wearing a face covering. 

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