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Annual review

Each year the Science Museum Group publishes an Annual Review to record its work from the previous 12 months.

Annual Review 2016–17

The relaunch of the National Science and Media Museum in Bradford, along with its new website and an interactive Wonderlab gallery for the young, was the standout moment in a remarkably busy year for the Science Museum Group.

It also brought the opening of two other important galleries at the Science Museum in London—another exciting interactive gallery, Wonderlab: The Statoil Gallery, and the beautiful gallery designed by the late Zaha Hadid, Mathematics: The Winton Gallery.

Other landmarks included impressive exhibitions about robots, big data, the wonder material graphene and the medical innovations of the First World War.

Superstars of the year were Flying Scotsman winning a million new fans after being restored by the National Railway Museum… and of course astronaut Tim Peake, whose Soyuz spacecraft we have put on display.

Download the Annual Review 2016–17

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The Science Museum Group blazed new trails this year for quality and impact and reached more people than ever before.

Valentina Tereshkova opens Cosmonauts
Valentina Tereshkova opens Cosmonauts – left to right, Russian ambassador Alexander Yakovenko, Ian Blatchford, Dame Mary Archer, Russian deputy PM Olga Golodets and UK ambassador to the Russian Federation Sir Tim Barrow.

The blockbuster exhibition Cosmonauts: Birth of the Space Age was a bold international collaboration that spotlighted previously unexhibited Russian space inventions.

New funds helped the group test new kinds of events, including interactive festivals at the Museum of Science and Industry and the National Science and Media Museum, while the National Railway Museum initiated thought leadership debates on the future of rail.

Headline spectacles included the day-long TV broadcast from the Science Museum of Tim Peake’s launch into space, attended in person by 11,000 visitors, and thousands more people cheering our own Flying Scotsman—the world’s most famous locomotive—as it steamed back into the headlines.

This was the year that the Science Museum Group declared its new momentum.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rt. Hon. George Osborne and Prof. Brian Cox with pupils from Fiddlers Lane Primary School, Urmston

SMG’s Manchester museum hub became a platform for announcing ‘northern powerhouse’ ambitions, York set the pace as a forum for discussing the future of railways, and Bradford toured its superlative collections of historic photography.

Her Majesty The Queen paid us the greatest honour by opening a major new addition to London’s gallery scene and heralding a glorious future for us all.

As the biggest group of science museums in the world, SMG is powering through a radical programme of reform, despite facing dramatic cuts in funding.

Director Ian Blatchford argues that even more could be done if the Group’s vital role in the UK science base were acknowledged. ‘We’re making waves,’ he insists. ‘Why stop now?’

Collider: step inside the worlds greatest experiment. An immersive exhibition blending theatre, video and sound art with real artefacts from CERN, recreating a visit to the famous particle physics laboratory.

The 2013–14 Annual Review highlighted a selection from an increasingly busy programme, including Collider, our critically acclaimed blend of theatre and physics; new investment from the Treasury in Manchester; and our world-class informal education programme.

The diverse range of celebrities, politicians and thought leaders in these pages show that the Group is a cultural beacon; preserving the culture of the past but also helping to shape the future too.

‘Opening Minds, Securing our Futures’, celebrated an exciting year of growth as the largest group of science museums in the world.

Explainer Laura Hester with Volunteer Boilersmith Gordon Reed on board City of Truro preparing it for the opening of Railfest.

The review details the discovery of the world’s oldest colour cine film at the National Media Museum, the Manchester Science Festival organised by the Museum of Science & Industry, Railfest at the National Railway Museum and our partnership agreement with Brazil.

The key theme for this year was partnership working. As Science Museum Group Director, Ian Blatchford explained, partnership working is our default setting; it maximises impact and secures real value. He said that investing in robust collaborations is the way to ensure science and engineering play central roles in generating prosperity.

By taking new directions, challenging visitors, employing exceptional standards of audience research and bridging the gap between science and culture, the Science Museum Group won people over to science and innovation in 2011–12.

Professor Stephen Hawking with the the Black Hole Light designed by Mark Champkins, inventor in residence at the Science Museum in 2012.

Serious, ambitious, determined; 2011–12 was the time for the Science Museum Group to punch its weight, because, Director Ian Blatchford said, the nation’s future prosperity and quality of life depend on an urgent commitment to science and technology.