The Science Museum Group regards external sources of funding as critical if we are to use our vast collection to inform and inspire millions of people. Since 2011, we have benefited from £150m in fund-raised income, which is helping us transform our five museums, creating free spaces where millions of visitors can immerse themselves in authentic stories about science, engineering, mathematics and more.
This external support is vital alongside the income from our shops and cafes, ticket sales and funding from Government, the latter being central to our efforts to take care of the collection of seven million items that our five museums hold on behalf of the nation. A national museum without this external income would be an institution without the means to modernise and update.
The fund-raised income has come from visitors, individual donors, charitable trusts, research councils, foundations, and businesses who share a passion for our work. We actively seek out businesses whose long-term interests are served by our mission to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers.
Any person or organisation that wishes to support the Science Museum Group has to accept that editorial control sits firmly with the museum. Our independence ranges from the interpretation around particular objects to galleries, exhibitions and the broad direction of our programme.
Since 2010, annual core Government funding has declined in real terms by a third, while other sources of funding have grown. The list below shows a breakdown by sector of fund-raised income—excluding any Government funding—that has been committed to the museum group between April 2011 and January 2022:
Percentage of income by sector
Includes donations from individuals and trusts based on the source of wealth, as well as income from corporate supporters.
- Visitor donations—15%
- Lottery distributors—13%
- Health/Personal Care—1%
You can find out more about ways individuals and organisations can support each of our museums: Science Museum, National Railway Museum, Science and Industry Museum, National Science and Media Museum and Locomotion.