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Cosmonauts exhibition success leads to Pushkin Medal for Director of the Science Museum Ian Blatchford

Ian Blatchford, Director of the Science Museum, received the Pushkin Medal from Russian President Vladimir Putin to recognise his role, and that of the Science Museum, in creating the acclaimed Cosmonauts: Birth of the Space Age exhibition.

This prestigious award, presented at a formal investiture ceremony at the Kremlin, is further recognition of the global significance of the Cosmonauts exhibition, which continues to receive critical praise and impress visitors from around the world. The Pushkin Medal is a Russian state decoration for achievements in the arts and culture, education, humanities and literature, named in honour of Russian author and poet Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin.

Five years in the making, Cosmonauts brings together the most significant collection of Russian spacecraft and artefacts ever to be shown in the UK. Amongst the star objects on display in the exhibition are real cosmonaut-flown spacecraft, including Vostok-6, the actual capsule that carried Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman to travel into space, safely back to earth in 1963.

From the work of late 19th century Cosmist thinkers who first proposed that humanity's destiny lay in space, to the reality of living in space on board Mir and the International Space Station, the Cosmonauts exhibition gives visitors a unique opportunity to get up close to many of the key innovations that made space exploration possible.

In 1957 the Soviet Union launched Sputnik, the world's first artificial satellite, and four years later sent the first human into space—Yuri Gagarin. However, the story of space exploration is much older. Cosmonauts explores the science and technology of Russian space travel in its cultural and spiritual context, revealing a deep-rooted national yearning for space that was shaped by the turbulent early decades of the 20th century.

Cosmonauts Birth of the Space Age is open at the Science Museum until 6 March 2016. For further information and tickets visit

Notes to Editors

For further information, interviews and images please contact:

Julia Murray, Science Museum Press Office
Tel: 020 7942 4364

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.