Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence has been appointed by the Prime Minister as the next Chair of Trustees of the Science Museum Group. Sir Tim will take up an initial four-year term on 1 January 2024.
He has previously served as a Commissioner and then as Chair of English Heritage (2015-2022), overseeing the care of its more than 400 historic sites and 40 small museums. Sir Tim has focused on built heritage, railways and urban regeneration since leaving the Royal Navy in 2010.
The announcement was welcomed by Sir Ian Blatchford, Director and Chief Executive of the Science Museum Group, who said: ‘Sir Tim’s passion and expertise around built heritage will be a great asset to the Group alongside the leadership he will bring to our talented Board of Trustees. Sir Tim’s experience of leading English Heritage through a period of great change will be invaluable as we continue our own journey of transformation across our five museums and collections care facility.’
Sir Tim Laurence said: ‘Over the last decade I have admired from afar the remarkable pace and quality of change across the Science Museum Group and in recent months have been fascinated to learn more about the transformations still to come. It will be a great honour to lead the Trustees of an organisation that does so much to inspire millions of visitors with the wonders of science.’
Sir Tim will succeed Dame Mary Archer as Chair of Trustees, when she stands down at the end of 2023 having served two terms.
Significant projects underway across the Group include the National Railway Museum’s transformative masterplan, that will enable the National Railway Museum and Locomotion to show cutting-edge rail innovations alongside the extraordinary birth and growth of the railways through new galleries, buildings and redeveloped spaces.
At the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester, which features the world's oldest surviving passenger railway station on its site, a multimillion-pound restoration programme is underway to reveal new spaces for visitors to explore ideas that change the world, while a £4.3 million decarbonisation programme is creating a more economically and environmentally sustainable museum.
Two significant new galleries will be built at the National Science and Media Museum in Bradford as part of the £6 million Sound and Vision project, which will showcase key objects and stories from our world-class collection of photography, film, television, animation, videogames and sound technologies.
At the Science and Innovation Park in Wiltshire, a state-of-the-art collection management facility has been built to provide a publicly accessible home for much of the Science Museum Group Collection. The new facility will open for public tours, school and research visits in 2024, enabling the public to explore more of the collection than ever before.
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Biography of Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, KCVO, CB
Sir Tim Laurence has pursued a portfolio career centred around Built Heritage, Major Projects, Railways and Urban Regeneration since leaving the Royal Navy in 2010. He chaired English Heritage (2015-22), with over 400 historic sites and 40 small museums. Other chairmanships included the Major Projects Association and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, the latter on behalf of the Secretary of State for Defence. He was a Trustee and Deputy Chair of RNLI.
Sir Tim’s current roles include: Patron of the Windsor Leadership Trust; Patron of the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway; member of the Great Western Railway Advisory Board; and Senior Advisor to the engineering consultancy Tetratech Europe. He also contributes to a number of other charities.
His 37 years of Naval service included four warship commands and a series of senior roles in the Ministry of Defence, culminating as CEO of the organisation which manages MOD’s property and infrastructure worldwide. He graduated from University College Durham in 1976 with a BSc in Geography, with Geology and Climatology, and was a Hudson Fellow at St Antony’s College Oxford (1998/99).
About the Science Museum Group
The Science Museum Group is the world’s leading alliance of science museums, welcoming over five million visitors each year to five sites: the Science Museum in London; the National Railway Museum in York; the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester; the National Science and Media Museum in Bradford; and Locomotion in Shildon. We share the stories of innovations and people that shaped our world and are transforming our futures, constantly reinterpreting our astonishingly diverse collection of 7.3 million items spanning science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine. Our mission is to inspire futures - igniting curiosity among people of all ages and backgrounds. Each year, our museums attract more than 600,000 visits by education groups, while our touring exhibition programme and websites bring our creativity and scholarship to audiences across the globe.