Soundtracks for the Revolutionary Railroad

The Challenge

The Museum of Science and Industry (MSI) explores how ideas can change the world, from the Industrial Revolution to today.  MSI is part of the Science Museum Group (SMG) and shares in its overarching mission to inspire futures. MSI is looking to REAlab researchers to pitch and pilot an exceptional visitor experience that can open the museum up to the city with new entrances and routes.  MSI is working towards a set of new experiences named ‘Revolutionary Railroad’ that will engage audiences with the history of the site at Liverpool Road station, and its surviving Grade I listed structures – the 1830 passenger station, warehouse and railway viaduct.

In view of the a major capital project delivered in around 5 years’ time, this project is tasked with piloting a project that can start telling this story and experiment with creative interpretive techniques, by exploring the frontiers of practice in heritage interpretation (digital storytelling, itinerant performance etc). 

The Project Team
  • Zakiya Leeming, PhD researcher in Music Composition (Royal Northern College of Music). 
  • Aleksandra Besevic, PhD researcher in Materials (University of Manchester, Science and Engineering) 
The Solution 

The project team explored the concept of historic storytelling through music while communicating some historical information on the Revolutionary Railway’s project as away to offering a unique museum experience. The project produced:

  • an original music composition describing elements of the Revolutionary Railways project. The piece consists of five movements telling the story of: the history of the passenger railway station, the freight service, the site, technical innovations and legacy. 
  • A webpage hosting a blog documenting the process of composition of the piece and the rehearsals; discussion of the topics included and description of key items from the collection and how they have inspired the musical piece; as well extended information about the Revolutionary Railway’s project.