Royce launches first public exhibition, Metals: Pioneering Materials, with support of AWE and Armourers and Brasiers’ Gauntlet Trust

On 16 March, the Henry Royce Institute’s flagship Royce Hub Building opened its doors to launch its first public exhibit, Metals: Pioneering Materials.

About the Exhibition

Metals: Pioneering Materials explores the history of metallurgy, from the early use of native metals as decorative objects circa 10,000 BC through to modern day research into superalloys and biomedical devices.

Visitors can interact with metal objects commissioned by Royce and get a hands-on look at how metals were used in medieval armour and learn how some of the most well-known technological advancements through the ages have been made possible by metallurgy.

The exhibition is hosted at the Royce Hub Building within the University of Manchester and will be open to members of the public until 10 June 2023 before moving to other Royce facilities around the country.

Metals: Pioneering Materials is free to attend, and walk-ins are welcome, though if you would like to attend a session including a talk with our curator please register through Eventbrite.

About the launch event

The Metals: Pioneering Materials launch event invited the project’s supporters, alongside other members of the Advanced Materials community from academia and industry, to get a first look at the history of metals assembled for the display.

A series of presentations on the project were delivered by supporters and organisers Mike Goulette from the Armourers and Brasiers’ Gauntlet Trust, Toni Lilly from AWE, and Philip Withers; Ania Jolly and Alice La Porta from the Henry Royce Institute.

The talks centred around the importance of materials science outreach and public engagement, outlining the wider activities each of the exhibition’s supporters are involved in.

Dr Toni Lilly, AWE Manager for External Technical Partnerships said:

“Materials science is key to understanding the world in which we live; ever since the earliest humans started to shape their environment materials science has helped us to make things better and better for the next and future generations. Our current materials challenges are vast yet incredibly exciting, whether we’re talking about realising all the new materials required to meet net zero, developing previously unknown materials for healthcare and other applications, or finding ways of moving on from our reliance on plastics for everything.”

Materials science undergraduate student Mika Davis, who researched and produced much of the content on display through his internship with Royce, opened the exhibit to guests in attendance.

Dr Alice La Porta, Royce Outreach Officer said:

“We are thrilled to welcome members of the public to the Royce Hub Building for our first public exhibit. The Metals: Pioneering Materials exhibition aims to take visitors on a journey through the history of metals to investigate their origins and identify the reasons why metals are so important for our society! The exhibition is suitable for families and Key Stage four to five students with an interest in learning more about materials science or history – though we welcome anybody interested to come and view the exhibit.”

Attending the Exhibition

The exhibition is open at the Royce Hub Building in Manchester until 10 June 2023. Guided bookings can be made via Eventbrite, though walk-ins are also welcome.

The Metals: Pioneering Materials exhibit coincides with the reopening of Manchester Museum and is easily walkable within two minutes through the University of Manchester Campus.


Royce Hub Building, Oxford Rd, Manchester M13 9PL


For larger groups or other enquiries, please contact outreach@royce.ac.uk