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What's on? What's On?
What's on? What's On?

Catalyst Science Discovery Centre - we put the fun in science

We put the fun in science

The only museum in the UK which explores the science and technology behind the chemical industry and its impact on our lives past and present through a host of hands-on exhibits, activities and demonstrations.

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A unique interactive experience for all ages.

Over 80 interactive exhibits, re-constructed scenes and multi-media programmes stimulate the senses bringing a range of subjects to life from Science, Maths, Engineering and Technology to the Humanities and Geography. Suitable for pupils from Key Stage 1 through to Key Stage 4.

Catalyst offers an entertaining educational experience.

Catalyst Illustration

Opening Times

  • Closed Mondays
    (Excl. Bank Hols)
  • Tuesday – Friday
  • Weekends
  • School holidays
    Mon - Fri 10am - 4pm
  • (Last admission is an hour prior to closing)


Mersey Road, Widnes, Cheshire, WA8 0DF.

Catalyst has a large free car park.

If you are coming over the Mersey Gateway Bridge, please don't forget to pay your toll within 24 hours. This can be done online at

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The Elements Café is the perfect place to enjoy a tasty snack or drink whilst admiring the riverside views.

The café is open from 10am to 3.30pm (when closing at 4pm) and 10am to 4pm (when closing at 5pm). Hot food is served until 2.15pm.

Both the Elements Café and the Catalyst gift shop are open to the general public without paying admission to Catalyst.

Your Visit
Your Visit

Your visit

Science Gallery

Scientrific Gallery

Over 40 hands-on exhibits allowing you to investigate how modern materials and chemicals are made. Discover colourful crystals, investigate polymers, create big bubbles or generate some electricity in this interactive gallery.

Science Gallery

Alchemy Theatre & Catalytic Discovery Lab

Two fantastic teaching spaces funded by the Millennium Commission. Hosting a range of workshops and hands-on activities for pupils from 8 years and upwards. The Alchemy Theatre hosts a range of science talks and shows too!

Science Gallery

Birth of an Industry

Investigate the development of the Chemical Industry from ancient times up to the 1940s with the aid of fascinating historical objects, life like reconstructions, archive films and computer quizzes which bring the past vividly to life.

Science Gallery


A glass walled, roof-top gallery accessed by an external glass lift, with panoramic views, hands-on exhibits and an extensive photographic collection. An ideal spot to learn about the heritage of the area with our new Panoramic Halton tablets.

What's on?

What's on?

Coming up at Catalyst...

24th Mar - 25th Mar

Colourful Chemistry

Visit Catalyst on Saturday 24th or Sunday 25th March for a chance to see ‘Colourful Chemistry’ – a special lecture demonstration presented by guest lectur...

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22nd May - 23rd May


Following the aftermath of a meteorite strike, a strange new disease arises in the local area. Can your pupils work collaboratively to seek answers and save the day? Bursti...

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26th Jun - 29th Jun

Chemistry at Work

Chemistry at Work returns to enthuse and excite all who visit. It’s an amazing opportunity for pupils in year 8 and 9 to put the science they learn in the classroom i...

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3rd Jul - 6th Jul

Materials Shows

Introductory Solids, Liquids and Gases for KS1 Pupils will see some exciting and unfamiliar solids, liquids and gases with an emphasis on ‘wow’ science in this ...

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See all Upcoming Events
What's on?


Catalyst aims to get your pupils excited and engaged with science and other STEM subjects

As well as visiting the museum galleries, you can choose from a range of hands-on workshops and science shows to give your pupils a unique educational trip to remember.

Education Programme

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Workshops confetti
Workshops confetti

Fancy a sleepover in our glass-walled Observatory Gallery?

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The Museum

Explore the development of the Chemical Industry from ancient times up to the 1940s with reconstructed scenes, archive films and computer quizzes bringing the past to life.

Beginning with early civilisation, the exhibition looks at the use of natural pigments, dyes and new technology concerning the use of materials. It considers the importance of the industrial revolution, the introduction of health and safety laws and looks at some of the great discoveries of the past and the birth of the multi million pound empires of the major chemical companies in the 1930s and 1940s.

Gossage game
Corporation Of Widnes Plaque
Golding Davis & Co Plaque
See more photos in the gallery

Support Us

Catalyst is a charitable organisation and is funded with a little help from our friends.

A ‘Friends’ organisation was formed in 1987 to support Catalyst and now has more than fifty members. Its aims include:

  • Supporting the Museum by giving money for the purchase of artefacts, equipment or facilities.
  • Providing voluntary help when needed.
  • Encouraging others to visit the Museum to enjoy its displays and facilities.

The Museum is continually expanding its activities and needs more support from its Friends to help it achieve this growth.

Please help us to help the Museum by joining the Friends today.

Become a member


Catalyst is an independent charitable trust managed by a board of Trustees.

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Catalyst has a number of high profile Patrons

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Supporters and Partners

Catalyst, its Trustees and staff would like to express their grateful thanks to the following individuals and organisations who currently support the centre.

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Corporate Partnership Scheme

By joining our Corporate Partnership Scheme you can help Catalyst achieve its aim of preserving the past and inspiring the future.

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