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Two new Directors for Science Museum Group Exec

The Science Museum Group has announced the appointment of two new directors to its Executive Group. Tom O’Leary has been appointed as the new Director of Learning, while John Stack has been named as the Group’s first Digital Director.

Currently Head of Digital at Tate, John will lead ambitious plans to transform the digital estate across the Science Museum Group that will put the audience at the heart of every decision. His role will ensure that creative and technological developments in digital media are harnessed in a way that delivers maximum value for visitors, both physical and online.

The announcement was made by Ian Blatchford, Director of the Science Museum Group, who said: “In John we have found the candidate with the pedigree and vision to ensure that our digital transformation is every bit as extraordinary as the ambitious physical changes we are making at our museums.”

John said: “Being given the chance to lead the Science Museum Group’s digital journey is a massive honour and a thrilling opportunity. I can’t wait to join the talented teams in the Group and to help bring new audiences to the museums’ peerless collections and further innovations to surprise the millions who already love these museums.”

The Science Museum Group has an impressive track record of digital innovation and partnerships, from educational games such as the multi-award winning Launchball and Rugged Rovers, which has been downloaded over 30,000 times in the three weeks since it launched, to Google Web Lab, a series of interactive exhibits that brought the workings of the internet to life, or the citizen science experiment #HookedOnMusic. Last autumn, HM The Queen chose the opening of the Science Museum’s new Information Age gallery, which charts two centuries of innovation in communication and information technologies, to send her first tweet.

Tom O’Leary, currently Head of Public Engagement and Learning at the Houses of Parliament, will succeed Dr Alex Burch as Director of Learning. He will lead the Group’s plans to bring science alive for the next generation of innovators who will determine our future and the UK’s economic prospects.

The Science Museum Group is unrivalled among museums as a learning destination; last year 380,000 young people came to the Science Museum with their school or other groups, such as brownies or youth clubs - a new record for a UK museum. Across the country, 68,800 pupils attended shows or workshops delivered by the Group’s outreach team at schools and science fairs.

Ian Blatchford said: “Inspiration and learning are at the heart of what we offer our visitors and we’re thrilled to have persuaded Tom to join us. What impressed us most was Tom’s passion for and experience of exploring new ways of connecting with young people.”

Tom said: “The quality, diversity and sheer scale of what the Science Museum Group’s Learning team delivers is truly impressive. It is incredibly exciting to have the opportunity to lead this deeply important work to inspire and inform audiences and increase science literacy.”

Both John and Tom will start their new roles in March.


Notes to editors

For more information please contact Will Stanley in the Science Museum Press Office via 020 7942 4429 or william.stanley@sciencemuseum.org.uk.

John Stack: During 10 years with Tate, John has been responsible for setting and delivering Tate’s digital strategy and establishing its website as one of the UK’s leading arts websites. He has been involved all aspects of the use of digital technology in museums including collection digitisation, content creation, digital learning, e-commerce, social media, website development, mobile applications, gallery kiosks, open data, crowdsourcing and user-generated content.

Tom O’Leary: As Head of Public Engagement and Learning at the Houses of Parliament, Tom has driven a significant expansion in the learning provision on site and extended the reach of the offer through national partnerships and digital media. He is also responsible for Parliament’s national programmes to mark its 750th anniversary and WW1 Commemoration activity. He founded Parliament’s renowned TEDx event and is an experienced TEDx curator and mentor.  He has been working in learning for more than 20 years, with experience at the National Archives where he was Head of Education, Interpretation and Online Services. He began his career as a teacher of history.

The Science Museum Group: The Science Museum Group includes the Science Museum in London; the National Media Museum in Bradford; the National Railway Museum in York and Shildon; and The Museum of Science & Industry in Manchester. The Science Museum Group attracts over five million visits a year. Its world-class collections, in the fields of science, technology, engineering, medicine, design and enterprise, transport, photography and other media are the most comprehensive and significant anywhere in the world. The Group plays a vital role in helping to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers, showcasing the best of British research and providing accessible and inspiring exhibitions and event programmes for both adults and children.