Science Museum Group
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1. Executive Summary
The Science Museum Group has a rich history since its existence in 1851 that started from the great exhibition that was held at Hyde Park. This exhibition attracted a lot of interest which in turn generated a lot of revenue. The patron of the museum, Prince Albert, suggested that some of the revenue generated from the exhibitions should be used to set up establishments that would be used for educational purposes and this led to the establishment of the South Kensington Museum in 1857 (Science Museum, 2019).
The Science Museum Group is a collection of five museums namely; Science Museum (London), Museum of Science and Industry (Manchester), National Railway Museum (York), National Media Museum (Bradford) and National Railway Museum, Locomotion (Shildon). All these museums play a significant role not just in the propagation of science but also in the promotion of tourism in the country (GOV.UK, n.d.).
The Science Museum Group is the most significant museum group that is dedicated to science, medicine, technology, industry and media. These museums attract over 5 million guests each year and they contain more than 7 million items for display and research (GOV.UK, n.d.).
Museums play a vital role in the preservation of human history and also learning from the same history to make better and informed choices for the future. Research has shown that learning from museums can be analysed and be well defined. It is also important to understand that learning in museums is different from learning in other settings (Falk and Storksdjeck, 2005).
2. Organisational Profile
As indicated, the Science Group Museum comprises of five museums that have different areas of focus. The National Science and Media Museum focuses on science, light and sound technology and how they affect human lives on a day to day basis. The various galleries within the museum assist in the investigation and the appraisal of the internet, photography, video games and the television. This museum is home to three cinemas including the first IMAC cinema in Europe (GOV.UK, n.d.).
The Science and Industry museum has been able to tell the history of the scientific and industrial past of the city of Manchester. This museum has been able to show the impact that the innovations that have taken place in the city have in impacting the world (GOV.UK, n.d.).
The National Railway Museum has a rich history of the railway as it has a wide collection of railway objects and a collection of carriages that were used in the past as a mode of transport. Individuals visiting the museum are able to enjoy the exhibitions and they also take part in learning sessions that engage them (Science Museum, 2019).
The Museum at Shildon is also known as the origin of the railways as it includes the home of the railway pioneer, Timothy Hackworth. The Durham County council is a major partner involved in the running of the museum (Science Museum, 2019).
The organisational profile is as a result of the structures within an organisation. It highlights the relationship between the functions and positions within an organisation. The organisational profile is important in determining the authority and responsibility for some activities and also establishing the communication path (Mullins and Dossor, 2013).
Organisational structures include divisional, functional and matrix. Many organisations that provide goods and services majorly apply the divisional type of organisational structure. The varied services provided may be due to the different needs and demands that consumers might have which may be necessitated by the geographical boundaries (Mullins and Dossor, 2013).
The Science Museum Group has incorporated the divisional structure in its daily running of activities. The board of trustees is in charge of the whole Science Museum Group. The members of this board are appointed by the Prime Minister through the department for digital, culture, media and sport. The Director doubles up as the Chief Executive officer of the Science Museum Group answers to the board of trustees. Under the director, there are several directors who are charged with different tasks withing the group. They include the managing director, director of communications, director of corporate services, director of development, digital director, director of people and culture, science director, director of learning and deputy director (www.sciencemuseumgroup.org.uk, n.d.).
As enshrined in the 1983 National Heritage Act, the major objectives for the science museum group include; caring for, preserving and adding more objects to their collections, ensuring that the objects displayed to the public are secure, ensure the availability of objects that individuals might want to use in connection to a study or inspection and also they are tasked with promoting the public enjoyment and understanding of science and technology (Science Museum Group, 2018).
SCIENCE MUSEUM GROUP OBJECTIVES
1 GROW SCIENCE CAPITAL IN INDIVIDUALS AND SOCIETY
2 INCREASE THE SIZE OF AUDIENCE AND PERFORM BETTER THAN THEIR EXPECTATIONS
3 INCREASE AND MAINTAIN THE WORLD-CLASS COLLECTION THAT WE HAVE
4 CONTINUE WITH INTERNATIONAL REACH
5 GROW INCOME THAT IS GENERATED
6 LEVERAGING ON THE DIGITAL POTENTIAL
7 RESHAPING OUR ESTATE
4. Consumer Trends
These days many consumers have gotten accustomed to being surprised with the kind of innovations they might find in places they visit. Consumers would love to have experiences that have been customised to suit their needs. Many attraction sites are changing with the trends to accommodate the consumers e.g having complementary drinks and snacks in cinemas or having eateries in art galleries or museums (Blooloop, n.d.).
Consumers have a crucial role in ensuring that museums are able to achieve their objectives. Many museums around the world are a major tourist attraction and what the museums offer are a major determinant on whether it will be able to attract and maintain consumer attention (TrendHunter.com, n.d.).
Many consumers are looking for experiences that leave a mark on them for a long time. Museums are investing in ways in which consumers can have more personalised experiences when they visit them. Technology has become an important aspect of many museums. The use of virtual reality in museums has gone a long way in improving consumer experiences. Using virtual reality has helped in the tapping of consumers who have dementia as it helps them trigger memories and have connections with the present. Overall the experience becomes much more memorable for the consumer (Axiell, 2019).
One of the objectives of the Science Museum Group is to harness the potential of their digital platform. The organisation aim to utilize the technology and stay in touch with its consumer. One of the major ways of interacting with consumers was to make their content available not just on their website but also on other frequently visited sites by their avid consumers. The science Museum Group made several changes on its online presence and noticed an increase in site visits from consumers (Science Museum Group, 2018).
The group has also utilised the idea of having online collection exhibitions. Collections online was launched in 2016 and has so far attracted more than 1 million visits. To make the user experience livelier, the use of 3D technology has also been incorporated (Science Museum Group, 2018).
Every organisation has a responsibility to maintain a good practises and keep the environment safe and clean. The Science Museum Group is an organisation that cares for the environment and has its own internal systems of monitoring its impact to the environment. Some of the causes that the Science Museum Group engages itself in include the following.
Green House Emissions
One of the major topics of discussions in the 21st century is climate change. Many nations around the world have been impacted negatively due to climate change. This has been exacerbated by green house emissions from various industries around the world. The Science Museum Group is at the forefront in educating and engaging visitors on climate change. Several collections and exhibitions have been held to sensitise communities on climate change.
To help reducing carbon emissions, the group has invested on video conferencing to help reduce travel by the staff and also they are increasing on-site renewable energy generation by installing solar panels and also installing photovoltaics (PV) at the National Collections Centre in Wroughton (Science Museum Group, 2018).
Figure 1: The SMG Solar farm at the National Collection Centre
The largest volume of waste in the museums comes from the visitors. They are encouraged to dispose their waste in clearly marked bins for recycle and also as a group we are very much involved with the suppliers to cut down on waste generation.
Another initiative embraced by the group in reducing waste generation is through discouraging the staff from using single-use coffee cups and encouraging the use of reusable cups. This therefore has seen a marked improvement reducing waste to landfills due to maximising recycling (Science Museum Group, 2018).
The Science Museum Group has a responsibility in ensuring that biodiversity is enhanced in all its centres. The group has already planted over 43,000 native tree species at the National Collections Centre and they have also set a target of planting 1,000 trees each year for the next ten years. Bees have also been introduced at the Science Museum to enhance biodiversity. To support the bees, four acres of wild flowers would be planted around the farm (Science Museum Group, n.d.).
Figure 2: Beehives at the National Collections Centre
The main financier of the operations of the Science Museum Group is the government as it falls under the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports. For the financial year of 2019-2020, they received £70.5m. Besides government, the group also gets donations and grants from different organisations and other well-wishers. In this financial year, they received £11.0m in donations and £20.1m in form of grants from organisations such as Gatsby Foundation, Wellcome Trust and the NLHF for Medicine.
The group also generates its own income through ticket sales which was about £2.6m from visitors who came to the various museums run by the group. They also get funds from sponsorship deals (HC 848,n.d.).
Income and Expenditure 2019-20
Income £ Expenditure 2019-20 £
Total Income 125.3m Total Expenditure 119.8m
Grant in aid 67.7m Science Capital 6.7m
Trading Income 18.7m Audience Expectations 19.3m
Grants, donations and sponsorship 35.9m Research and collections 6.0m
Rental Income 1.2m International Reach 0.3m
Other Income Transform Estate 3.7m
Increase income 17.3m
Support activities 21.2m
Capital expenditure 43.5m
Table 1: Summary of financial Statement of Science Museum Group 2019-20
(Science Museum Group, 2020)
Many hospitality firms possess low governance control mechanisms, higher quality of earning and better financial performance than firms that are not hospitality related. Understanding the control mechanisms of corporate governance can help in reducing problems that agencies face and also improve the firm’s performance (Mullins and Dossor, 2013).
In 1992, the UK government established the Corporate governance code, whose primary function was to make sure that organisations were acting according to established practices directed by government. The code seeks to ensure responsible corporate governing that promotes good practices and puts an emphasis on the long-time wellbeing of companies. The code also highlights the idea that organisations have a responsibility to the environment and other stakeholders (Financial Reporting Council., 2014).
The current director and chief executive officer is Sir Ian Blatchford was appointed on November 1st 2010. He reports to the Board of Trustees who oversee all the museums in the group. The director and the executive make up the senior management team which is responsible for allocation of resources, developing cultural content and sustaining group values.
Governance in Theory
The Board of Trustees is governed by the National Heritage Act of 1983 which gives it the authority to manage and control the museum group. The Board of Trustees is headed by a chairperson who is appointed by the Prime Minister. The function of the Board of Trustees is to set up the group’s policy, review the performance, and back appointments made to strategic management positions (Science Museum Group, 2020). The other board members assist the chairperson conduct the duties bestowed to that position.
The group executive acts as the chief accountant of the group. He is responsible for the funds that are allocated to the group and ensures that they are not misused in any way. The director is also responsible for the daily running of the group. The director of the Museum group is also the director of the science museum and is assisted by the deputy director of the group. The other museums are headed by a director who is responsible for revenue collection, programs and coordinating the museum’s attainment of their goals. The group executive reports to the Director of the science museum group and senior managers who report to the Director.
The Members to the Board of Trustees are appointed by the Prime Minister and report to the Prime Minister through the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.
The director of the Science Museum Group, who doubles up as the Chief Executive Officer, reports to the Board of Trustees and also reports to the Department of Culture, Media and Sports since he is the chief accounting officer responsible for the monies given by Government.
Other board trustees report to the chairman of the board as they are there to assist the chairman in attaining the set responsibilities for the Science Museum Group.
The director of the Science Museum Group is also the director of the Science Museum and is assisted by the Deputy Director of the Science Museum Group.
Each of the other museums is headed by directors who report to the Director of the Science Museum Group.
The Group Executive comprises of senior managers who report directly to the Director of the Science Museum Group.
An executive director is an individual who has been given the responsibility to run an organisation on behalf of the board, who appointed him/her. The executive director is in charge of the day to day running of the organisation while a non-executive director does not need to be there on a daily basis to ensure the smooth running of the organisation (Companydirectors.com.au, 2014).
At the Science Museum Group, the Director and the other senior managers comprise of the Group Executive are executive due to the role they play in running the Group on a day to day basis and the members of the Board of Trustees are non-executive directors as they only meet four times a year and only attend necessary meetings involving the group.
The appointments of the Board of Trustees are done as per the Heritage Act of 1983. Besides that, the Science Museum group is in compliance with the Code of Practice of 2011. The Code of Practice ensures that the composition of the board is well balanced it supports the director in running the Science Museum Group efficiently. The rules are followed as there are regular reviews of the senior staff to ensure that their effectiveness in performance is maintained (Science Museum Group, 2020).
In the tourism and hospitality industry, there are internal and external stakeholders who affect or are affected by how a business is run. Internal stakeholders consist of the shareholders, the senior manager and the employees. These individuals are directly involved in decision making or implementing the organisation’s strategic goals. External stakeholders include customers, suppliers, government agencies, business alliances, environmental and political groups. All these are vital for a business to achieve its objectives (Mullins and Dossor, 2013).
Furthermore, the Science Museum Group has achieved its goals, throughout the support from key stakeholders such as British Petroleum, Samsung and GSK. The organisation understands that these global organisations are playing vital role in the achieving of the desired goals (Science Museum Group, 2019).
These external stakeholders, who also double up as partners, can find immense benefits for their brands as their customers take pride in being associated with brands that are conscious of the pressing economic and other societal issues (Science Museum Group, 2020).
The Government is the largest and the key stakeholder of the Science Museum Group. The Department of Culture, Media and Sports is in charge of the group as it lies under its docket. As indicated form the group’s financial statement, the government committed £70.5 million to the running of the museums.
With the onset of the Covid-19 global pandemic, many service industries have been affected negatively. This has shown there is need for such industry players to find ways of showcasing due to the restrictions put in place.
Both the internal and external stakeholders have been affected by the Corona pandemic. The internal stakeholders such as the employees, and the management of the Science Museum Group have lost revenue and job opportunities. The external stakeholders on the other hand have lost out on the opportunity to learn and conduct research. Other members of the business community have also been affected by the closure of the museums since they will not be able to interact with tourists who come to visit the museums.
Having a good synergy between the Department of Culture, Media and Sport and Science Museum Group is vital for the benefit of the public and for the nation as well. It would provide an avenue for the younger generation to stay in touch with the country’s history and also continue to play its role as an international hub for scientific research and advancements.
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