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Museum prepares to open in May as Science Museum Group announces net zero target

Today the National Science and Media Museum announced plans to reopen its doors on Wednesday 19 May 2021, subject to the current government roadmap out of lockdown.

The opening programme includes the exhibition In Pursuit of Perfection: The Yorkshire Photographic Union Competition and the launch of the permanent Belle Vue Studio exhibition in the museum’s Kodak Gallery. Pictureville Cinema will also be reopening at the slightly later date of Friday 21 May 2021, where visitors will be able to see the new IMAX film Antarctica 3D.

Free tickets will be released on Wednesday 5 May 2021 and will be available to book via the museum website. Museum opening times remain 10.00–16.00, Wednesday to Sunday, outside school holidays. 

The National Science and Media Museum is part of the Science Museum Group, which has today announced a target for the Group to achieve Net Zero carbon emissions by 2033, reinforcing its commitment to putting sustainability at the heart of its work, alongside engaging its audiences with the science and solutions to the urgent challenges facing our planet.

Building on the Group’s Sustainability Policy, published a year out from COP26, this rigorous Net Zero target places environmental sustainability at the heart of the organisation and commits it to going further, faster, to reduce its impact by changing the way it works. As with all its endeavours, the Science Museum Group is guided by the science and has signed up to the respected science-based Target Initiative to tackle both its direct emissions and those in its supply chain. Read more about how the Group will achieve this.

Sir Ian Blatchford said:

“As we emerge from the coronavirus pandemic, climate change is the greatest challenge facing humanity. As well as engaging our audiences with this grave threat, we need to do more to lessen our own environmental impact, which is why we’re today committing to achieving Net Zero by 2033. This extraordinary year has shown the relevance of science to all our lives so, as we look towards reopening our museums in mid-May, we can’t wait to inspire our audiences once again with the ideas and innovations that continue to shape our world, and find solutions for a better future.”

Alongside putting sustainability at the heart of the organisation’s work, the Group also announced further details of a major focus on sustainability and climate change in its public programme throughout 2021, to coincide with COP26. 

Available to book from today are the latest talks for the Science Museum Group’s global event series Climate Talks, which aim to lead public engagement with climate science in the run-up to COP26 in Glasgow in November 2021. Since launching in January, over 20,000 people worldwide have booked a free ticket or watched an event online, with speakers so far ranging from legendary conservationist Dr Jane Goodall and economist Sir Partha Dasgupta to astronauts Tim Peake and Helen Sharman, musician Brian Eno and Bollywood star Dia Mirza. Streamed online to connect with an expanding global audience, the talks bring together a diverse, distinguished lineup of international speakers to confront the most pressing issues around climate science and explore which innovations can really make a difference. Topics for the next wave of events range from the clean energy revolution to how our oceans are responding to climate change, with speakers including journalist Anushka Asthana, Malawian inventor and author William Kamkwamba, The Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng MP, Former President of the Republic of Kiribati Anote Tong, and many more.

The Exhibitions team at the National Science and Media Museum is also leading on an initiative across the Science Museum Group to make exhibitions more sustainable. The team have developed a robust set of guidelines that have two main aims; firstly, to reduce the amount of bespoke single-use materials needed for each exhibition; and secondly, to upcycle and recycle any materials that are left over both within the Science Museum Group and with local communities, institutions and individuals. 

Jo Quinton-Tulloch, Director of the National Science and Media Museum, commented:

“In Bradford we have been working on improving our approach to sustainability in our exhibitions for a number of years. For example, in 2020 following our Hello Universe exhibition we ensured that a satellite used as a large set piece in the exhibition was donated to a local science centre for reuse rather than being scrapped. We have also considered how materials can be recycled, such as the panels used in 2019’s Above the Noise exhibition, which were later upcycled for multiple uses, including as a toolbox and storage unit. We are always striving to find new ways of making our exhibitions more sustainable, including working more closely with local stakeholders and colleagues to notify them when exhibition materials are available to recycle and reuse. We are constantly learning, but this process provides a positive start to making exhibitions kinder to our planet.”

Throughout 2021, new online stories will explore the environment and sustainability through the lens of the incredible Science Museum Group Collection. From space-based climate observation to green transport solutions and the science of our oceans, these richly illustrated articles will weave together historic objects, transformative events and incredible individuals driving environmental innovation. Through exploring the Group’s online collection, digital visitors can discover thousands of objects, from ground-breaking devices for monitoring the natural world to those which illustrate political, social and personal responses to environmental change.

Building on the popular Science Museum Group Learning Resources, a new hub page for Climate Learning Resources launches today, including videos, hands-on activities and 3D objects, which will be added to throughout the coming year. As museums prepare to reopen their doors to the public, there will be activities, shows and demonstrations to engage all ages with climate science and sustainability.

Find out more about the Science Museum Group and sustainability

Read more about Climate Talks and book free tickets

For more information about the Science Museum Group and sustainability, please contact the Science Museum Press Office on 020 7942 4886 or via

For further details about the National Science and Media Museum reopening, please contact Katie Canning on 01274 203 027 or via


Notes for editors

The National Science and Media Museum in Bradford, West Yorkshire, opened in 1983, and has since become one of the most visited UK museums outside London. The museum explores the science and culture of image and sound technologies, creating special exhibitions, interactive galleries and activities for families and adults. It is home to three cinemas, including Europe’s first IMAX cinema screen and the world’s only public Cinerama screen outside the USA. Entry to the museum is free.

About the Science Museum Group

The Science Museum Group is the world’s leading group 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 Museum of Science and Industry 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 the future, constantly reinterpreting our astonishingly diverse collection of 7.3 million items spanning science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine. Standout objects include the record-breaking locomotive Flying Scotsman, Richard Arkwright’s textile machinery, Alan Turing’s Pilot ACE computer and the earliest surviving recording of British television. 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 brings our creativity and scholarship to audiences across the globe. More information can be found on the Science Museum Group website.

The Science Museum Group and sustainability

The Science Museum Group (SMG) has been a leader in raising climate awareness through its public programme, while the Group’s approach to sustainability has transformed its working practices and collections care. Highlights from the past decade include:

  • Since 2011/12, SMG has cut direct carbon emissions by 69%, from its operations despite increasing floor area by 24% as a result of mergers and Masterplan developments, and purchases all its electricity from renewable sources (except at the Blythe House object store)
  • In 2005, the Science Museum became the first national museum to install solar panels on its roof
  • The National Collections Centre site at Wroughton hosts a solar farm business that generates almost four times the total amount of energy used by the whole of SMG
  • We’ve also built a hempcrete storage facility at the National Collections Centre and the site uses two prototype hydrogen fuel cell cars
  • The Atmosphere gallery exploring the science of climate change, which opened in 2010, has been seen by more than 5 million people
  • In 2019, the Science Museum Group announced fresh commitments to biodiversity including planting at least 1,000 native, locally-sourced trees a year on its estate throughout this decade, joining 45,000 trees already planted at the National Collections Centre
  • Biodiversity has also been encouraged by the addition of beehives at the Science Museum, installing over 100 bird and bat boxes together with log piles and hibernacula for reptiles and insects at the National Collections Centre, planting wildflowers at Locomotion in County Durham, and extensive new box planting across the Science and Industry Museum’s seven-acre historic city-centre site in Manchester
  • Climate change has been a recurrent theme in SMG’s public programme, with exhibitions including: Unlocking Lovelock; The Rubbish Collection, an art installation made of waste; Luke Jerram’s spectacular artwork Gaia, as part of the National Science and Media Museum’s Hello Universe exhibition; a climate-themed Manchester Science Festival in 2021 and previous Lovelock Art Commissons for Manchester Science Festival: The Sounds of Others: A Biophonic Line with artist Marcus Coates and Cape Farewell (2014); Evaporation with artist Tania Kovats and Cape Farewell (2015) and Cloud Crash with Nerc/Cape Farewell and artists HeHe (2016/17)

More information about sustainability and the Science Museum Group

Part of the Science Museum Group