Magna Science Adventure Centre
Magna Science Adventure Centre is an educational visitor attraction, appealing primarily to children. It is located in a disused steel mill in the Templeborough district of Rotherham, England. The site is formerly home to the Steel, Peech and Tozer steel works (also known as Steelos). In 50 AD it was the site of the Templeborough Roman fort.
The principal exhibits are divided into five pavilions: Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Power (the last one is very small). There is also a large outdoor play area and water play area.
The site, often used for staging events, conferences and gigs, won the Enjoy England Gold Award for Business Tourism in 2006 as well as many other awards for the high quality of product.
The creative, development, funding and building process was led by Stephen Feber, who selected the design team, led by Wilkinson Eyre, architects and Event Communications, exhibition designers. Tim Caulton directed exhibition development, introducing spectacular exhibits that bridged science and art, such as Ned Kahn's fire tornado, "The Big Melt" (described below) and works by San Francisco 'artist in electricity' Cork Marcheschi. Magna's exhibitions won the Best Exhibition category at the 2002 Design Week Awards.
The Magna Science Adventure Centre won the 2001 RIBA Stirling Prize for its architects Wilkinson Eyre Architects, Mott MacDonald and Buro Happold's innovative use of space in the old steelworks. Visitors are often as impressed by the building itself as the attractions contained within it.
"The Big Melt"
Every hour, on the hour, Magna holds a display called "The Big Melt". Its purpose is to demonstrate how steel was made in an electric arc furnace until the steelworks closed in 1993. An authentic looking furnace is imitated with several fog, spark, flame and smoke machines, loudspeakers, lights, and blasts of rapidly burning propane which are ignited at appropriate points in the show. In theory, the show can be repeated up to four times an hour, but, in practice, it is usually run once an hour or twice an hour if visitor numbers are very high.
Real Ale Festival
Since 2011 the centre has been home to the annual Rotherham Real Ale and Music Festival. The festival was previously held at Oakwood Technology College. Monies raised from the festival benefit local charities. The 2014 festival takes place from 5 March to 8 March.