Today the Science Museum Group invited submissions from contemporary artists for a new public artwork, as construction began on an accessible home for the Science Museum Group Collection.
For this major four-year art commission the Science Museum Group, in collaboration with contemporary art commissioners Foreground, is seeking creative responses to its ambitious project to construct a new collection management facility at the National Collections Centre in Wiltshire.
Community participation is at the core of the art commission, which aims to engage local communities with the National Collections Centre and the scale and significance of the Science Museum Group Collection. Proposals for the £70,000 art commission are encouraged to be experimental and can be submitted until 4 August 2019. The winning artist is expected to start in late 2019, developing their part-time project to culminate in 2023 when the new facility opens.
Construction of the new facility recently began at the National Collections Centre. This sustainable, operationally efficient facility will provide stable conditions for the long-term preservation and care of the collection. The facility is equivalent in size to 600 double decker buses and will feature a spacious storage hall, conservation laboratories, research spaces and photography studios. It will transform how the Science Museum Group manages, cares for and shares its internationally significant collection, ensuring these historic objects continue to inspire future generations. Once construction is complete in spring 2020, over 300,000 objects will be studied, digitised and transported to their new home in a process that will last two years.
Jonathan Newby, Managing Director of the Science Museum Group said: ‘Thrillingly we are in the midst of revolutionising public access to one of the most significant scientific collections in the world. Enhanced public access is at the heart of our vision for the National Collections Centre and I am delighted construction is underway for the collection’s new home. Soon Wiltshire residents and audiences across the globe will be able to explore more of our incredible collection than ever before.’
Katy Barrett, Curator of Art Collections, Science Museum added: ‘This is an exciting moment to launch a participatory art commission as construction begins at the National Collections Centre. We can’t wait to see what different perspectives artists will bring to our site, collection and local community through this art commission.’
Simon Morrissey, Director of Foreground said: ‘We are delighted to be collaborating with the Science Museum Group on this first art commission for the National Collections Centre. We look forward to helping build active relationships with audiences and communities and producing an innovative commission for this rich and fascinating site.’
The Science Museum Group has previously commissioned and worked with a wide variety of contemporary artists including James Capper, Nikhil Chopra, Tacita Dean, Marlene Dumas, Antony Gormley, Thomas Heatherwick, Cornelia Parker, Marc Quinn, Conrad Shawcross and Yinka Shonibare.