Attractions industry news

03 Jan 2019

Science Museum's Ian Blatchford given knighthood in recognition for services to culture

Ian Blatchford, director and chief executive of the Science Museum Group, has been given a knighthood for services to cultural education.

With a portfolio that includes the London Science Museum, the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester, the National Railway Museum in York, Bradford's National Science and Media Museum, and the Science Museum at Wroughton in Swindon, Wiltshire, Blatchford is responsible for overseeing some of Britain's largest science institutions, which between them have a collection of 7.3 million objects.

In his role since 2010, Blatchford has been instrumental in promoting science to the nation.

Among projects headed up by Sir Ian, an icon of British engineering – Stephenson's Rocket – is currently on tour in the north of England. Placed on display at the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester. It will move to the National Railway Museum in York as part of the build-up for its Vision 2025 campaign. Instrumental in this, Blatchford also played a key role in the recent acquisition and subsequent tour of the Soyuz spacecraft used by Tim Peake on his Principia mission and was the driving force behind the £4.2m (US$5.3m, €4.6m) refit of the world’s most famous locomotive, the Flying Scotsman.

"The work of the Science Museum Group is rightly celebrated because its collections of seven million items rests on remarkable foundations, the nation’s key role in the rise of science, from the industrial revolution to astonishingly creative individuals such as Isaac Newton and Ada Lovelace, to the discovery of the single atom thick wonder material graphene," said Blatchford.

"Britain has an amazing story to tell about its contribution to world science. This story of the power of rational thinking must be taken to the young people who will change our world in decades to come."

Blatchford had a rich background in culture prior to taking up his current position. Between 2002 and 2010, he spent eight years as deputy director of the V&A Museum in London. He also spent six years at the Royal Academy of Arts, operating as its finance director.

“This is a wonderful and well-deserved recognition of Sir Ian’s dynamic leadership of the world’s most significant Science Museum Group," said the organisation's chair, Dame Mary Archer.

"Under Sir Ian, the group has grown in size and reputation, led the way in sharing star museum objects around the country, delivered Europe’s largest informal education programme and embarked on pioneering work to open up its collection to the public through digitisation and ambitious plans for its National Collections Centre near Swindon. Sir Ian has also transformed the group’s global standing, not least through a portfolio of touring exhibitions which have reached millions of people worldwide.”

In addition to Sir Ian's knighthood, there were other honours within the attractions sector handed out at the start of 2019.

Among those recognised, Caroline Collier, director of partnerships and programmes at Tate was given an OBE for services to galleries, museums and the arts in the UK.

There were OBEs also for Samuel Mullins, director, London Transport Museum and Andrew Nairne, the former director of Dundee Contemporary Arts and current director of Kettle's Yard in Cambridge, while Mike O'Connor, deputy director of the National Army Museum, was given an OBE for services to Military Heritage. Sharon Granville, executive director of Museum of Liverpool received an MBE.

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