Science Museum Group Annual Review celebrates a year of successful exhibitions, partnerships and learning

29/07/2013

The Science Museum Group (SMG) today publishes its Annual Review 2012-13: Opening Minds, Securing our Futures, celebrating an exciting year of growth as the largest alliance of science museums in the world.

The report features the musician Will.i.am on the cover, who funds one of its science education partnerships, and describes how in 2012–13 the Museums received over 5.1 million visits and attracted an online audience of over 20 million.

Ian Blatchford, Director of the Group, said: "Last year I declared that it was time for the Science Museum Group to punch its weight, because the nation's future prosperity and quality of life depend on an urgent commitment to science and engineering. One year on, the Group feels like a vital player in science engagement and inspiration."

Roger Highfield, Director of External Affairs for SMG, said: "The scope of the Group's activity is breathtaking. Our beautiful Annual Review is presented as an 84-page illustrated magazine which is required reading for anyone interested in the links between creativity, innovation, the economy and inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers.”

The past financial year has seen award winning exhibitions such as Web Lab and Codebreaker, new acquisitions such as the Lovelock archive, along with a discovery of global significance. At the National Media Museum curators made international headlines with the discovery of the world’s first moving pictures in colour, while at the National Railway Museum history was made as two A4 steam locomotives made the epic transatlantic journey to York in preparation for the 75th anniversary of their sister Mallard’s world speed record.

Meanwhile, at the Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester, a remarkable citizen science experiment to grow sunflowers was conducted during the Manchester Science Festival as part of the Turing centenary celebrations.

From the Philharmonia Orchestra's daring and prize winning digital installation, Universe of Sound, to a new project with the Brazilian government to create a science museum in São Paulo, partnerships and collaborations are central to the Group's strategy.

In 2013, the Group launched Enterprising Science, a five-year partnership with BP and King's College London working with 2000 teachers nationwide. And it has invested in research, officially launching the Research and Public History Department to promote research into its collections.

The investment has already paid off, with research on the BBC's first radio transmitter, 2LO, informing the Voice of the BBC: 90 Years of Public Broadcasting display in the Science Museum. The Group was awarded £1.4 million funding for 24 collaborative doctorates by the Arts and Humanities Research Council - more than any other institution.

Mr Blatchford added, "Our progress is even more impressive given that our Grant in Aid has fallen by 25 per cent in real terms over the last four years. Despite the further cuts outlined by the June Spending Review we are not going to jettison our ambitious plans for the Group."

The complete Annual Review 2012–13 can be downloaded from the Science Museum website. Please visit http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/about_us/smg

For further information please contact: Laura Singleton, Science Museum Press Office, on 0207942 4364 or email Laura.singleton@sciencemuseum.ac.uk

Notes to Editors

Comments from leading figures in the Annual Review:

“The quality and scale of the National Media Museum photographic collections is truly sensational.” - Michael G Wilson, Chairman of The Science Museum Foundation, James Bond producer
“Science and technology must help us create a more sustainable world. With that aim, the museums of the Science Museum Group combine to excite us, inform us and provoke us.” - James Smith, SMG Trustee

“The Brazilian Government's request for advice from the Science Museum on the development of a new national science museum for Brazil, demonstrates the Museum's world-leading reputation and I wish the venture every success.” - David Willetts, UK Science Minister

“I am proud to see my donation to the Prince's Trust being put into action to help engage disadvantaged youth who would not otherwise have access to technology and science education.” - Will.i.am, musician and philanthropist 

“I am amazed at the Group's ability to keep faith with the serious purposes and remits of the variety of museums under its charge whilst increasing visit numbers. Squaring this circle while having to cut our costs is the challenge ahead.” - Lord Grade, SMG Trustee  
 
About the Science Museum Group
 
The Science Museum Group attracts over five million visits a year and is comprised of the Science Museum in London, the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester, the National Railway Museum in York and Shildon, and the National Media Museum in Bradford. Its world-class collections, in the fields of science, technology, engineering, medicine, design and enterprise, transport and 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.

The Science Museum Group is an executive non-departmental public body whose parent body is the Department of Culture Media and Sport. www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/about_us/smg