Science Museum’s £40m facility to house more than 300,000 objects

The Science Museum has started construction on a new facility, which will house more than 300,000 objects that have been in storage.

The Science Museum Group has revealed that hundreds of thousands of objects will be studied, digitised and transported from west London to the new facility at the National Collections Centre in Wiltshire.

As part of the £150 million Blythe House Project, collections from the Science Museum Group, the British Museum and the V&A will move from Blythe House in west London.

The V&A is planning innovative stores in east London with 360-degree viewing spaces. The Science Museum project will use £40 million in government funding.

The Science Museum’s new collections facility

“Our £150 million Blythe House operation will help provide superb, new storage facilities for our national collections,” said Arts Minister Michael Ellis.

“I am delighted that the Science Museum Group is putting public access at the heart of its plans for the National Collections Centre.”

At 90m wide and 300m long, the facility is equivalent in size to 600 double decker buses and will feature a spacious storage hall, conservation laboratories, research spaces and photography studios.

Highlights at the new facility include a 1947 passenger aircraft used as a tour plane by the Rolling Stones in 1973, a TV detector van, Apollo mission patches, and the first examples of plastic (via The Guardian).

“Superb, new storage facilities”

Once construction finishes in spring 2020, the items from the Science Museum Group Collection will be moved over a two-year period. The facility is set to open in 2023.

“Enhanced public access is at the heart of our vision for the National Collections Centre and I am delighted construction is underway for the collection’s new home,” said Science Museum Group MD Jonathan Newby.

“Soon Wiltshire residents and audiences across the globe will be able to explore more of our incredible collection than ever before.”

To mark the beginning of construction, the museum announced a £70,000 art commission seeking creative responses to the new facility.

Image: Science Museum Group