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First woman in space to open Science Museum exhibition dedicated to her life

"A bird cannot fly with one wing only. Human space flight cannot develop any further without the active participation of women." 

– Valentina Tereshkova

  • Valentina Tereshkova will visit the Science Museum to open the display and attend a gala evening held in honour of her 80th birthday on 15 March.
  • Valentina Tereshkova: First Woman in Space will celebrate her life and career, from factory worker to international celebrity and women’s rights advocate.
  • Following the unveiling of Tim Peake’s Soyuz spacecraft in January, this exhibition marks another key event in the 2017 UK-Russia Year of Science and Education.

16 March – 16 September 2017

Free exhibition

Exhibition supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery

Fifty-four years after she made history as the first woman in space, Valentina Tereshkova will open an exhibition at the Science Museum dedicated to her remarkable life and career.

Tereshkova went from obscurity to worldwide fame on 16 June 1963 when aged 26 she climbed aboard the USSR’s Vostok 6 spacecraft, becoming the first woman to fly in space. She returned after orbiting the Earth 48 times over 3 days, logging more flight time than all American astronauts combined up to that date.

The ‘First Lady of Space’ would never fly again but her mission remains a major milestone in pioneering space exploration. It was another 20 years before the next woman went into space, and Tereshkova remains the only female cosmonaut to have flown a solo mission.

Valentina Tereshkova: First Woman in Space will reveal a compelling life story, from her early days as a factory worker with a great love of parachuting and music, to her career as a prominent USSR politician and global representative. On Wednesday 15 March Valentina Tereshkova will visit the Science Museum to open the display and attend a gala evening in her honour.

Science Museum Group Director Ian Blatchford said:

“It will be a true honour to welcome Dr Terehskova back to the Science Museum as we celebrate her 80th birthday. What better time to pay tribute to the achievements of such a heroic and pioneering woman than during Women’s History Month? On her last visit to the Museum in 2015 she declared her wish to join me on a space flight, and I look forward to making plans with her this time around!”

Doug Millard, Deputy Keeper of Technologies and Engineering and Curator of Valentina Tereshkova: First Woman in Space said:

“Valentina Tereshkova epitomises the can-do spirit that propels humanity to great things. As the first woman in space and still the only one to have flown a solo space mission, her story continues to be an inspirational one for millions.”

On 15 March ArtPointFoundation and the Science Museum will present a unique evening of film and music, to celebrate Tereshkova’s 80th birthday. A specially commissioned film entitled ‘Legend of Valentina’ will be premiered, which includes previously unseen archival footage, and will be accompanied by the Russian Philharmonic Orchestra and acclaimed virtuoso violinist Dmitri Kogan. There will also be an opportunity to see Valentina Tereshkova: First Woman in Space, which represents a continued collaboration between the Science Museum and the Russian State Museum Exhibition Centre ROSIZO.


Notes to Editors

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


The National Centre for Museums and Exhibitions, ROSIZO, is a Federal State Budgetary Institution under the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation. In cooperation with leading Russian and international institutions ROSIZO arranges exhibitions of Russian art around the globe and implements large-scale projects within the bilateral years of culture. Some of the most recent initiatives include “Palladio and Russia. From Baroque to Modernism” (Museo Correr, Italy), 2014; “Russia-Switzerland” (Château de Penthes - Museum of the Swiss Abroad, Switzerland), 2014; “Cosmonauts: Birth of the Space Age” (Science Museum, Great Britain), 2015, “Facing the Future: Art in Europe 1945-68” (BOZAR, Belgium), 2016.

About ArtPointFoundation

The ArtPointFoundation has grown from a strongly-held belief that art in all its forms has the power not just to enhance lives, but to transform them. Established in the UK, it is dedicated to supporting and furthering the careers of exceptional artists of all ages and backgrounds. By giving them access to specialist training, expert advice and performance opportunities, the Foundation enables them to realise their full potential. For more details please visit:

About People’s Postcode Lottery

People’s Postcode Lottery is a charity lottery. Players play with their postcodes to win cash prizes while raising money for charities and good causes local to them. As an External Lottery Manager, People’s Postcode Lottery manages multiple society lotteries promoted by different causes and supporting a range of good causes. For details on which society lottery is running each week, visit

About Discover South Kensington

Discover South Kensington brings together the Science Museum and other leading cultural and educational organisations to promote innovation and learning. South Kensington is the home of science, arts and inspiration. Discovery is at the core of what happens here and there is so much to explore every day.