Bletchley Park opens new state-of-the-art museum learning centre in Milton Keynes

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It’s part of a £13m development

A newly-restored wartime building at Bletchley Park will open as a state-of-the-art museum learning centre this summer.

As part of a £13-million redevelopment, it will be dedicated to formal and informal learning programmes.

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The new centre is housed in Block E, a formerly run-down building that had been left vacant for decades at the heart of the historic World War Two codebreaking site.

Bletchley ParkBletchley Park
Bletchley Park

Later in 2023, a purpose-built 250-seat auditorium in the facility will also open to accommodate schools and other educational groups, hosting a full and varied programme of community and corporate public events and talks. 

Block E was built in 1943 and was the only block devoted entirely to communications during World War Two. Sections working here handled incoming and outgoing messages and encryption using machines such as Typex.

The new educational spaces created there include eight learning spaces to accommodate everyone from primary school learners to higher education students.

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The rooms are bright, well-equipped, tactile spaces, easily accessible by all learners, and are designed to host more than 13 tailored workshops.

The first groups are due to start using the facility on 6 June – coincidentally, the date of the D-Day landings in 1944, in which Bletchley Park’s intelligence played a role.

Bletchley Park Trust is an independent charity which relies solely on income from visitors, sponsors and supporters. Despite being hit hard by the pandemic, the world-renowned museum and heritage attraction successfully raised funds to complete this final stage of an exciting three-phase refurbishment project through the generosity of trusts, foundations, individuals, companies, and statutory funders.

Phase One was the refurbishment project of Block A which now houses the largest permanent exhibition on site: The Intelligence Factory. Phase Two was the completion of the new Collection Centre that houses the Trust’s extensive collection of more than 420,000 items relating to the wartime story of Bletchley Park.

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Bletchley Park’s award-winning learning programme hosted more than 30,000 students in 2022, but, due to lack of learning spaces, the programme was heavily oversubscribed.

The completion of this project will enable Bletchley Park to increase capacity and grow the learning programme to accommodate even more participants in this dedicated learning facility, inspiring leaners with the achievements of the Codebreakers and their relevance to today’s world.

Examples of what is on offer for learners at Bletchley Park includes an overview of World War Two history, with a focus on Bletchley Park’s involvement, Codebreaking through the ages offering problem solving and key mathematical skills, and a close-up look at wartime machinery.

Students will be able to use an Enigma machine and other examples of objects from the Bletchley Park collection to explore codes and ciphers, and to work as a team to solve problems, test their tenacity and exercise lateral thinking skills.

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Lily Dean, Learning Manager for the Bletchley Park Trust, said: “We are looking forward to opening Block E as a new, state-of-the-art learning centre. This facility will enable more students to visit us, supporting their studies in STEM subjects, and helping us to share the amazing feats of human ingenuity that took place at Bletchley Park with more learners than ever before.” 

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