This giant people-powered nutcracker in our Core building gets you thinking all about energy and processing.

Wind the handle of this Heath Robinson-style machine to transport a tiny hazelnut around an assault course of cogs, wheels, pulleys and cranks before it’s eventually cracked.

An engaging exhibit, the Nutcracker was designed to get us thinking about just how much energy and resources we often to use to do simple things. Do we really need a sledgehammer to crack a nut?


Designer-maker Rob Higgs came up with idea for the Nutcracker one day when he jumped into his car to pop off and buy a pint of milk. It seemed so strange to him to use a heavily produced machine costing thousands of pounds and running on fossil fuels to do something as simple as buy some milk.

Rob created the exhibit using all sorts of nautical and industrial treasure, including bowling alley springs, hammers, a cannon ball, a mining drill and a ship’s steam engine.