Astonishing Science. Spectacular museum.
A busy programme of cross-cultural appeal sees a record-breaking year for visits to London's Science Museum.
This year the Science Museum welcomed 2.95 million visitors, our highest annual total since free entry was introduced in 2001. A record-breaking 20,000 visitors were counted in a single day. We were the most popular destination for free school trips in the UK, and half of our daytime visitors came in family groups.
The busy programme has certainly been catholic in its cross-cultural appeal: the Chilean miners’ rescue pod, alchemy, electronic music, the dress-up Cockroach Tour as a novel approach to climate change, interactive art in Electroboutique, and opera ‘as live’ in the IMAX cinema.
Though the Museum is free to access, we are acutely aware of the competition from digital media, so strive to create uniquely life-enhancing physical experiences.
"Exhibits are a confection of artefacts, graphics, information, ambience, technology," says Andrew Nahum, Senior Keeper. "Curating a display is a creative art something like journalism, but in another dimension and with more tools. In the Museum we offer many different styles of address ranging from the contemporary science in the Wellcome Wing to hands-on engagement in Launchpad but a crucial magnet is the cultural value and visual allure of the artefact. Whether we’re viewing a traditional canoe or a jet engine, we want to use our scholarship to reveal the social, intellectual, and political milieus from which they derive and to give a glimpse of the ingenuity and creativity that they embody."
The Science Museum's unmatched collection of 800,000 items is not an anonymous assemblage. Every object encapsulates the brilliance, passions and history of talented individuals who deserve to be understood. Our audience wants us to tease out these stories and to convey the science, the imagination, and the choices which have led to the complex web of machines, technologies and scientific knowledge which frames our lives.