Photography by Weronika Kordonska and Katie O'Neill
Sally MacDonald is the Director of Manchester’s Science and Industry Museum. One of the most visited attractions in the region, the museum explores ideas that change the world and is currently undergoing a multi million pound transformation
Prior to this Sally was Director of Museums and Public Engagement at UCL, set up a new multi-million pound museum and heritage service as Principal Museum Officer for London Borough of Croydon and was Deputy Director at the Geffrye Museum in East London.
Manchester is a city of innovation… the world’s first industrial city – a place where rapid innovation drove growth, for both good and ill. That innovation took many forms; technological, social and cultural. To take one example, the development of the world’s first inter-city passenger railway – the terminus of which you can see on the museum site – was an engineering feat that transformed people’s perceptions of speed and forced the introduction of standardised time. It’s a city where people take risks, and don’t take no for an answer. It’s world famous because so many of the ideas that started here – the railway, computer programming, graphene – changed the world. And new ideas and innovations continue to do so today.
Born in Carlisle, she grew up in Withington, Manchester and attended Cheadle Hulme School. Sally went on to study Latin, Archaeology and Ancient History at Bristol University. Her first job after leaving university was as a volunteer at the Manchester Art Gallery and her first paid job was cataloguing the contents of Manchester Town Hall.
Sally in the museum's Textile Gallery
Sally returned to Manchester in 2014 to take on the role of Director of the Science and Industry Museum. She is passionate about the role that the museum can play in the city’s COVID recovery and future growth, particularly in terms of inspiring the next generation of scientists and inventors
Sally has served on several museum boards and currently sits on the Arts Council England’s North Council.
She is a member of the Royal Society’s Public Engagement Committee and the General Assembly of the University of Manchester.
The Science and Industry Museum is part of the Science Museum Group - the most significant group of museums of science and innovation worldwide
The Science & Industry Museum (SIM)
We are bringing to life the story of the site, inspiring the innovators of the future to power the next (green) industrial revolution and creating a more sustainable museum.
The Science and Industry Museum is currently undergoing a multi-million-pound restoration programme - 'Revolution in Progress'. Work has started on crucial restoration work as well as revealing new spaces and perspectives at this globally significant industrial heritage site.
THE SHOOT: The Science and Industry Museum, Manchester
In the New Warehouse Special Exhibitions Gallery, The Textile Gallery and alongside 'Baby' the prototype of world’s first commercially available computer.
Student reflection: Weronika Kordonska
This was a wonderful opportunity to photograph Sally the Director at the Science and Industry Museum. On arrival we approached the exciting New Warehouse Exhibition Gallery - our first location for the shoot. The warm amber lighting at the entrance to the exhibition space helped to produce some dynamic portraits of Sally. We then moved into the museum’s Textile Gallery where we photographed Sally against the backdrop of cotton spinning machinery. Our trusty LED wand provided important extra light to ensure that she stood out in the museum’s darker spaces. Sally was very down to earth and put us at ease during the shoot and was happy to be directed and excitedly told us of the ongoing restoration work at the museum.
The shoot went great... we were able to try out a number of different creative photographic techniques to produce some exciting images of Sally.