We the Curious will pop up in every postcode in Bristol, says chief executive

After the announcement this week that We the Curious won’t be able to open until next year, we chat to the chief executive about what’s been going on and what people can really expect

<p>We The Curious will be all over the city while it waits to reopen</p>

We The Curious will be all over the city while it waits to reopen

As We the Curious announced that they won’t be able to open the museum back up until January 2023 due to fire damage, chief executive Donna Speed tells us what we can expect from them in the meantime.

And, although the news is sad, it seems that there are a lot of plans and We the Curious will be doing its work all across the city.

“We’ve had an incredible team of contractors who have been meticulously going through the building to understand the extent of the water damage,” says Ms Speed.

“The surveys and tests aren’t complete yet and won’t be until the end of July but we know that there are big items that need replacing that have a long lead time.

“It was so clear that we wouldn’t be able to open before January so, as soon as we knew that, we wanted to make sure we let everyone know as people have been so incredibly supportive.”

It became evident that they won’t be able to reopen quickly

After the pandemic brought the museum to a halt and after just getting back on its feet again, the closure has hit them hard.

“To be honest, it had been quite tough,” says Ms Speed. “But, the team always astound me with how they just cope. We are an educational charity, we are more than a venue and we have a mission and need to be out there.”

So, it’s been about what they can do and that’s why you can see the team currently out on Millennium Square doing their jobs. But what else is the plan?

“We are signing up to every festival and community that will have us across Bristol and we are going to visit every postcode across Bristol while we are closed,” says Ms Speed.

“It is sad that we don’t have a venue but we still have important work to do and the team is incredible. They are mourning the year we would have had but they are being great about it.”

The team remain positive

Despite the bad and sad news, the team at We the Curious is remaining positive and is seeing it as an opportunity and a challenge to make sure they produce the best work they possibly can.

Being optimistic and rallying around each other is central to their ethos, just as the community and Bristol did through Covid-19. “We are an optimistic organisation and a positive force, so it’s just testing that,” says Ms Speed.

“Our audience has been patient and overwhelmingly positive which has boosted our positivity. They have shown that they think we are valuable and that they want to come back, so that has buoyed us.”

Ms Speed says that saying hello when We the Curious is in your postcode would be a huge help to their work. They also ask that the public help spread the word about where they will be popping up across the city.

“We lost our Twitter account at the beginning of lockdown so it’s a lot harder now while building it back up, to get the word out to as many people,” explains Ms Speed. “The more people can do to follow and share, that’s really helpful.”

So, what exactly is the plan for the rest of the year while out and about across the city? “We’ve got a range of activities planned for events, festivals, as well as smaller groups and community centres.

Everything will be super playful and we will have a huge range of subjects such as flowers, robots or aliens. It will depend on where it is, how big the event is and what the theme is at the time.

The team is already out and about doing Let’s Build at Millennium Square

The team is already out and about doing Let’s Build at Millennium Square to show how amazing it is how many things you can build out of straws.

Ms Speed tells us that it will follow the usual ethos and line of work that We the Curious does in the venue. “It will still be about fuelling creativity and putting on curiosity sparking activities across all places in Bristol,” she says.

Logistically, the plan is to attach themselves to already existing community events across the city.

“We’re so lucky in Bristol that we have such an incredible programme of things to do over the summer and we will be taking full advantage of those,” says Ms Speed.

Throughout the winter, the museum hopes to be able to link up with some indoor venues and events, too. “In the autumn and winter, we will be visiting schools and looking to link up with venues and support their activities as well,” says Ms Speed.

“We will look at each season and see where we are best placed to support and help and be there for our visitors.”

The best way to stay in touch, for tourists and locals, is to follow the Twitter account

For tourists, We the Curious want to stress that although they don’t have the physical venue, there is still a lot of the work of the museum that will shine through in the nomadic sessions across the city.

The events will link back to the existing venue in tone and idea.

“Our teams will still be connecting with people and finding what people are curious about and then allowing visitors to explore and test things out. It’s the same but without the venue,” says Ms Speed.

“If you’re visiting Bristol and wanted to come to We the Curious, connect in with the incredible things that Bristol has to offer and hopefully we will be there as part of that.

“We will be connecting in with our partners and peers at different venues and activities across the city and will be part of that.”

Ms Speed tells us how excited they are for the reopening and how it could open up new doors and opportunities, as well as being excited to show off their new multi-million-pound exhibition that opened last May.

“We are looking at what opportunities this gives us,” she smiles. “So watch this space because we are going to be like a phoenix from the ashes and we will emerge stronger and more sparkly than before.”