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Bye Bye Urbis.

February 24, 2010

Sunday 28th February shall be a sad day for Urbis, Manchester, UK.

For Sunday is the last day Urbis will open it’s doors as Urbis, the urban museum.

Instead, the next time we shall see the inside of this unique building, we shall, if we really want to, be browsing the isles of the National Football Museum. Oh the joys.

I remember back in 2002/3 our GCSE Geography trip to the newly opened Urbis, the urban geography museum. I remember it was quite groundbreaking not only in its architecture, but the ways in which learning was promoted.

After climbing the side of the building in the 45 degree lift, we entered a dark room which took us on a journey of projected urban images, wind machines and funky music which focused on the subject of urban geography. For 15/16 year olds this was a pretty exciting school trip!

Looking up the Levels of Urbis

Soon after I believe the museum was modernized to encorporate a more cultural outlook on to urban life showing exhibitions which included media, art and social issues.

Feature of the the 'Urbis has left the Building' Exhibition.

In view to pay my respects to Urbis I decided to head down on my day off and browse those last standing exhibitions-‘Home Grown-the story of UK Hip Hop’ , ‘Urbis has left the building-Six years of the best exhibitions in Pop Culture’ and Manchester, Television and the City Ghost of Winter’.

Part of the 'Home Grown: The Story of UK Hip Hop' Exhibition

Although I found all the exhibitions interesting, I must say I enjoyed ‘Manchester, Television and the City Ghost of Winter’ the most. This exhibition combined historic elements of Manchester, such as its social history, with popular media and as the title suggests, television. This in turn meant this exhibition was very interactive and engaging with its audience, and for those from Manchester, personally interesting by depicting historical local reports and the (re) development of inner-city living in Manchester.

In reflection, I feel, although maybe uneconomical, Manchester is making a loss with the closure of Urbis. With its engaging exhibitions combining popular culture, art and media, I felt although Urbis was Manchesters answer to Bradford’s Media Museum.

I certainly highly recommend to those who can, visiting Urbis before its closure on Sunday.

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