YORK'S National Railway Museum has received its biggest ever single donation - £2.5 million,which will help fund a new interactive, family gallery called Wonderlab.

The money has come from the Liz and Terry Bramall Foundation, set up in 2007 by Terry Bramall, the chairman of Doncaster-based urban regeneration construction firm Keepmoat, and his wife Liz.

The gallery, which will now be known as Wonderlab: The Bramall Gallery and is due to open next year, will host family and school visits.

A spokesman said it will be packed with interactive exhibits with a rail engineering theme and is based on successful Wonderlab galleries installed at the Science Museum in London and at the Science and Media Museum in Bradford.

He said the gift, the NRM's largest ever single donation excluding lottery support, would enable young people to learn about science and engineering through hands on learning.

"At 1,466m2, Wonderlab will be the museum’s most significant new family offer since opening in 1975," he said. "Up to 81,000 people are expected to visit the gallery in the first year."

Museum director Judith McNicol said it would be a ground-breaking interactive gallery for children that would 'celebrate the inventiveness and wonder of engineering, science and the railways.'

She added: "From the success of Wonderlab galleries elsewhere in the Group, we know that children will have great fun while also developing a lifelong interest and appreciation of engineering that will enrich us all."

Dr Bramall said it was his pleasure to support the creation of the new Wonderlab gallery to the sum of £2.5m spread over 10 years.

"Liz and I are thrilled to pledge this significant investment which will benefit many young people in the region, and we hope that this gift will enable its work to continue for many decades.”

Liz and Terry, along with other trustees from the Foundation, visited the museum last week to see the proposed site of Wonderlab,which is in the museum’s former Workshop.

The trustees were able to take part in the museum’s ‘prototyping’ sessions, which are giving groups of families the chance to try out and shape the final interactives.

The museum announced last October that Yorkshire artist Pippa Hale had been appointed to create one of two art installations to feature in the gallery.

The spokesman said the museum was currently seeking contractors to build the exhibition space, with contracts expected to be awarded in May.

"Installation of the exhibits will take place from February 2023 and the gallery is scheduled to open in May 2023," he said."Wonderlab: The Bramall Gallery is part of the museum’s ‘Vision 2025’ masterplan which will see widespread regeneration at the National Railway Museum in York and at Locomotion in Shildon.

"As well as the new Wonderlab, Vision 2025 will include a new Central Hall building and ‘Railway Futures’ gallery as well as improvements to South Yard, Great Hall and North Shed."