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About us

The Science and Innovation Park is a 545-acre former RAF airfield near Swindon. 

With stunning native woodlands, extensive runways and hangars as well as one of the UK’s largest solar farms, the site plays a vital role in the Science Museum Group’s sustainability activities as well as hosting a range of research and development projects and commercial activities. At the heart of the Science and Innovation Park is the National Collections Centre, home to around 80% of the Science Museum Group Collection.

National Collections Centre

The National Collections Centre cares for hundreds of thousands of objects in the Science Museum Group Collection.

In 2018, we embarked on an ambitious project to create a new purpose-built facility to transform our care for the collection and enable people to explore much more of it than ever before.

Around 300,000 historic objects have now been carefully moved to this sector-leading facility, bringing together these historic objects under one roof for the first time for conservation, study and public access.

Regular public tours of this building will begin in late 2024, allowing members of the public to get up close to our world-class collection of objects from science, technology, engineering, medicine, transport and media.

Caring for the collection

The world-class Science Museum Group Collection forms an enduring record of scientific, technological and medical advancement from across the globe.  

At the National Collections Centre, we care for, conserve and research our unique collection; we prepare objects for display in our five national museums or for loans to other UK and international institutions. 

Our new purpose-built collection management facility provides a high performance, sustainable home for the collection. It maintains the stable environmental conditions essential for the long-term preservation of our objects and will allow us to revolutionise public access to the Science Museum Group Collection. 

At 90m wide and 300m long, the facility is equivalent in size to 600 double-decker buses. It features conservation laboratories, research areas and photography studios alongside a vast storage hall with 30,000 metres of shelving to house the collection.

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Caring for the collection


Sustainable practices guide the work of the Science and Innovation Park. 

This 545-acre site contains large open grasslands, 30 hectares of native woodlands and one of the UK’s largest solar farms. More than a hundred bird and bat boxes together with log piles, hibernacula, beehives, and species-rich grassland are all providing habitats and homes for reptiles, insects and other wildlife.  In a further commitment to biodiversity, 1,000 native trees will be planted annually throughout this decade, joining 49,000 trees already planted by the Science Museum Group at the site.

Staff offices at the site benefit from solar hot water, while green-roofed bike racks provide space for insects and plants as well as bicycle storage. Hemp and Lime have been combined to create a low-energy, humidity controlled Hemcrete® store—providing a carefully managed space for some of the most vulnerable objects in the collection.

Our new collections management facility is the Science Museum Group’s most energy efficient building yet, with sector-leading innovations in low energy intensity collections care.

A ‘fabric first’ design approach maximised the performance of the facility’s building materials to improve energy efficiency while reducing energy needs, operational costs and carbon emissions. The sustainable choice of a highly insulated and airtight facility allows the environmental conditions needed for the collection to be maintained with minimal energy use.

Solar photovoltaic panels on the roof meet part of the sites electricity needs, with biomass boilers providing heating for dehumidification. Limiting access points to the building, the inclusion of a loading bay airlock and the use of intelligent LED lighting all further reduce the facilitys energy demands.

Outside the new facility, dedicated electric car charging points encourage more sustainable transport methods, complementing electric vehicles already in use at the Science and Innovation Park. Recycled plastic road materials provide sustainable surfaces for access roads and the service yard, aiding drainage and reducing carbon emissions.

Rainwater at the facility is captured to create a large wetland area encircled by Clouts Wood, a Site of Special Scientific Interest.