UK is switching on to science


Science Museum Group

The UK is switching on to science. Over the latest financial year, visits to the Science Museum Group hit 5 million, an all time high.

The UK’s newly unveiled Science Museum Group, previously called the NMSI*, includes the Science Museum, London, National Railway Museum, York and Shildon, and National Media Museum, Bradford.

The group also officially welcomes the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI), Manchester. Together the five museums now care for over six million objects, forming the most iconic science, technology and engineering collection in the world.

This increase in numbers shows the UK’s interest in popular science is going from strength to strength. In addition, the Science Museum, London, welcomed the highest number of visitors recorded in a single day (20,000) in February 2012 and its Lates night recently saw 4,600 18-30 year olds coming in through the doors.

All five museums have an amazing array of up and coming events to engage the public - the Science Museum’s ‘Universe of Sound’ will see a virtual 105 piece orchestra set up for visitors to join in; the National Media Museum has opened Life Online, the world’s first permanent gallery dedicated to exploring the social, technological and cultural impact of the internet and the web; Railfest 2012 at the National Railway Museum welcomes the largest gathering of railway record breakers ever brought together and MOSI will be mass planting hundreds of sunflowers to celebrate the remarkable life of Alan Turing, pioneer of computing, AI and understanding pattern formation in nature.

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey said; “It’s brilliant to see these museums attracting record breaking numbers. It’s clear the UK’s appetite for science is burgeoning, and the new Science Museum Group has got an exciting vision for the future to ensure this continues.”

Roger Highfield, Director of External Affairs, Science Museum Group, said; “These great figures reveal that the public is switching on to science. Some speculate it is due to the ‘Brian Cox effect’, interest sparked by The Big Bang Theory comedy, or that it is inspired by the quest for the Higgs particle at CERN. But I think it is also because people increasingly realise the amazing extent to which science and innovation define modern culture.”

For further information please contact, Nicola Ryan, Science Museum Press Office – / 020 7942 4328 @Nicola1PR

Official Figures 2011/12
Science Museum = 2,950,871: +6% on 2010/11
National Media Museum = 488,378: -2.65% on 2010/11
National Railway Museum, York = 730,443 : +13% on 2010/11
National Railway Museum, Shildon (Locomotion) = 210,109: +5.7% on 2010/11
Museum of Science & Industry (MOSI) = 838,648: + 31% on 2010/11

Notes to Editors

The Science Museum Group was formally known as National Museum of Science Industry (NMSI). The change takes effect from 1st April 2012.

The group comprises of the Science Museum in London, the National Railway Museum in York and Shildon, and the National Media Museum in Bradford. From early 2012, the group also welcomed the Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester.

The six million artefacts under its stewardship cover the fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, medicine, transport, visual media and related arts. They range from Crick and Watson’s original DNA model to Stephenson’s Rocket, from the Flying Scotsman to John Logie Baird’s original television apparatus.

The Science Museum Group is an executive non-departmental public body whose parent body is the Department of Culture Media and Sport.