Swindon Borough Council has approved plans to build a collections management facility for The Science Museum Group (SMG) at its national centre in Wroughton, near Swindon.
Pegasus Group submitted the application on behalf of SMG in what will be the group’s single largest project for 20 years and is set to transform how it manages, cares for and shares its world-leading collection.
Objects from the Science Museum Group collection will be stored, researched and prepared in the new facility before they go on display across the Group’s family of museums: 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.
Construction is due to start next year, with the first collections arriving in 2020, and once completed it will open regularly to the public through a varied programme of tours, learning and research visits.
The building will cover a footprint of 26,000 square metres (approximately four football pitches) and provide space to look after more than 340,000 objects from the Science Museum Group collection. The building is designed to blend in with its environment, and facilities inside will include storage halls, conservation laboratories, research spaces and photography studios.
Matt Moore, Head of the National Collections Centre of the Science Museum Group said: “This is a hugely important step towards our goal of transforming the way we care for and share the extraordinary objects in our collection, and we are grateful to the strong design team that helped develop our plans.”
Colin Virtue, Executive Director from Pegasus Group’s Bristol office, said of the project: “It is immensely pleasing to secure planning permission for such an exciting and important project as this.
“The Wroughton site is already acknowledged as a primary storage facility for the SMG, and this is an opportunity for the Group to make significant progress towards its vision of creating a national collections centre that provides an exceptional national resource for use by the public physically and online.
“The delivery of this purpose-built centre will secure tangible benefits for Wroughton and the surrounding area and it is expected that the positive economic impact will be important at local level during the construction and subsequent operation of the facility.”
SMG holds the nation’s preeminent collection of science, technology, engineering, medicine, transport and media. Object in the collection together tell the story of our world – from the Indus Valley civilisation of more than 3,000 years ago to the cutting-edge microchips that power our planet today.
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