'The Museum of Classic Sci-Fi' is a meticulously curated, small museum, packed with fascinating unique items from the worlds of science-fiction history and classic era 'Doctor Who'. Despite its 'small museum' tag, you will actually find far more exhibits on display than in many much larger establishments - and every item has been painstakingly researched, preserved and displayed by museum creator/curator Neil Cole.
CREATING 'The Museum of Classic Sci-Fi'
2 - CONSTRUCTION
By 2017, the next stage of the museum project could commence. Neil had always wanted to create a tribute to the original 'Blackpool Doctor Who Exhibition' that had captured his imagination as a small child. Part of the original exhibition's excitement was that new monsters and exhibits were gradually unveiled as the visitor made their way through a series of darkly lit, atmospheric corridors. To try and replicate this effect, the next step was to fit a new floating floor upon which a series of 'twists and turns' could be constructed, with a complex wiring system beneath to feed the multitude of lights needed to illuminate the exhibits!
4 - PRESENTATION
Once an item is ready to exhibit, it has to be mounted on a bespoke wooden stand, each individually designed and created by Neil. This job alone took many months of construction to complete. Neil has also spent countless hours researching and designing plaques for every item in the museum, whether it be a complete monster or a single script page. These plaques are supplemented by a number of video screens which also help tell the story. Neil's intention is to give every visitor to The Museum of Classic Sci-Fi the best possible experience and knowledge of each item and how it forms part of the greater Doctor Who/Science-Fiction narrative.
1 - BUILDING RESTORATION
Work commenced in April 2015 restoring the near derelict, 300 hundred year old cellar of the Grade II listed Osborne House in Allendale. With crumbling walls and ceilings, dampened mortar and flooding, this was a monumental task. Ultimately it took nearly three years for Neil (with some support from family and friends!) to complete restoration of the stonework which included repairing a vaulted room and smashed fireplace. Neil spent many, many, long dark nights after a day's teaching, angle grinding out mortar and repointing...
3 - RESTORING MONSTERS
Neil has been rescuing, repairing and conserving neglected classic era Doctor Who monsters for three decades. His passion for the old show and its surviving relics became a mission to preserve these classic aliens and to stop them from perishing away forever. The BBC policy of auctioning off their costume stocks to the public, resulted in many unique items disappearing forever to live in hidden collectors' rooms and wardrobes. The monsters suffered more than most, with their rubber constructions requiring great care to avoid them rotting to dust. Armed with sculpting skills and determination, Neil worked to repair such iconic creations as the surviving Terileptil and Cyberscout costumes. Where possible he would only add preservatives, but in cases like the museum's Cheetah Person, Neil sculpted a new, accurate face to replace the entirely crumbled original prosthetic. Neil's work is ongoing...