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Science Museum Group touring exhibitions receive one millionth visitor

  • Landmark figure reached following SMG touring exhibitions programme launch three years ago
  • Nearly 500,000 have visited nationally and internationally touring exhibitions during 2016/17, making it a record-breaking year
  • Visits to Science Museum Group sites by young people on educational trips reached over 600,000 

Today the Science Museum Group announced that more than one million people have visited its touring exhibitions in the UK and abroad since the programme began in October 2014.

This milestone in audience figures has been achieved thanks to a record-breaking year in 2016/17 when almost 500,000 people flocked to Science Museum Group exhibitions in cities such as Hong Kong, Sydney, and Helsinki.

A significant contributor to this success is the first exhibition to tour outside the Science Museum Group, the 2014 Dibner Award-winning Collider: Step Inside the World’s Greatest Experiment. Over the past three and a half years this exhibition has travelled internationally, drawing an audience of over 600,000 people whilst on tour.

Collider will end its run later this month at the Queensland Museum in Brisbane. Suzanne Miller, Queensland Chief Scientist, CEO and Director of the Queensland Museum Network said: 'T he Collider exhibition has been a huge hit with our visitors, bringing the excitement of world-class research to a public audience through the exhibition and programming. Working with the Science Museum on this exhibition is just the beginning of what we know will be a long and rewarding partnership.'

Recognising the importance of engaging regional communities with the collection, the Science Museum Group has looked to team up with small local museums for touring exhibitions. The 2014 exhibition Only in England has shown at the Beaney House of Art & Knowledge in Canterbury and is currently running at the Bowes Museum in County Durham until 7 May, whilst the Beacon Museum in Cumbria took advantage of one of the Science Museum’s pioneering Blueprint Packs to show 3D: Printing the Future from July to October 2016.

The Science Museum’s 2016 Cosmonauts exhibition journeyed to Moscow in June. It was seen by over 70,000 people and heralded as a great success as much of the collection had never before been seen by the Russian public. Similarly, summer 2016 saw the launch of Beyond the Lab at the Science Museum, part of the EU-funded initiative Sparks. Curated and produced by the Science Museum, this exhibition is currently touring all EU countries over two years.

With an international tour in the pipeline for the Science Museum’s latest blockbuster Robots and the Museum of Science and Industry’s Wonder Materials exhibition, plus a visit to a visit to Rio de Janeiro for 3D: Printing the Future, the Science Museum Group is looking to solidify its reputation as a truly global institution.

Ian Blatchford, Director of the Science Museum Group, said 'It’s a delight to see that international audiences have such an appetite for the same exhibitions that do so well at home in the UK. These thriving collaborations will be a cornerstone of the Group’s ambitious plans to extend our international reach in the years to come.'

Around 5.2 million people visited Science Museum Group museums over the past year. Meanwhile, the Science Museum Group as a whole has seen a rise in the number of young people visiting on educational trips, with an extra 4,000 people visiting the National Science and Media Museum as part of an educational group in 2016/17. The Science Museum remains the most-visited UK museum by educational groups, beating last year’s record-breaking figure thanks to the 11,107 teachers and group leaders who chose to organise an educational trip to the Museum.


Notes to Editors

SMG sites

15/16 total

16/17 total

15/16 education groups

16/17 education groups

Science Museum





National Science and Media Museum





Museum of Science and Industry





National Railway Museum (York)





National Railway Museum (Shildon)





About the Science Museum

As the home of human ingenuity, the Science Museum’s world-class collection forms an enduring record of scientific, technological and medical achievements from across the globe. Welcoming over 3 million visitors a year, the Museum aims to make sense of the science that shapes our lives, inspiring visitors with iconic objects, award-winning exhibitions and incredible stories of scientific achievement. More information can be found at sciencemuseum.org.uk.