Science Museum Group appoints new chairman

Dame Mary Archer DBE, wife of former cabinet minister Lord Archer, has been named as the new chairman of the Science Museum Group, which last week paid host to the Queen in the Royal opening of its new Information Age gallery where Her Majesty The Queen sent her first tweet.

In a distinguished career Dame Mary has taught Chemistry at both Oxford and Cambridge Universities and was also chair of Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, 2002–2012, and a founder director of Cambridge University Health Partners, 2009–2012. In 2012, she was appointed DBE for services to the NHS.

Dame Mary is currently chair of the Imperial College Health Partners’ Expert Advisory Board.

“The Science Museum in South Kensington has a special place in my heart, as somewhere I visited when I was growing up and a source of inspiration as my scientific career developed,” she said.

Dame Mary Archer has been appointed Chairman of the Science Museum Group (photograph by kind permission of Imperial College Health Partners)

“I much enjoyed serving as a trustee in the 1990s, and it is a privilege and an honour to return to this unmatched group of science museums as chairman. I look forward to supporting the Group in its task of inspiring and delighting new generations of visitors.”

The past year has been the busiest ever for the Science Museum Group, with more than 5.7 million people visiting the Science Museum in London, the National Railway Museum in York and Shildon, the Museum of Science & Industry in Manchester and the National Media Museum in Bradford.

The appointment was made by prime minister David Cameron and announced by culture cecretary, Sajid Javid, who said that Dame Mary would bring to the museum a combination of proven scientific experience and expertise and a fine track record of chairing high profile institutions, along with a sense of what the visiting public want and expect from museums today.

“The Science Museum Group has a long and very distinguished history of helping to make science, engineering and technology accessible and understandable for all. And visitor numbers of more than five million a year across the Group show how successful they have been,” he said.

In the past year a record breaking 450,000 young people visited the Science Museum on educational trips, or benefitted from its outreach programme, more than any other UK museum.

“Dame Mary Archer will be a first-rate chairman. She has such passion for the museum group, with which she has a long association, and will approach the role with focus and entrepreneurial flair,” said Science Museum Group Director, Ian Blatchford.