Heritage Month: The Science Museum welcomes us to the home of human ingenuity - Licensing.biz
For decades, the Science Museum has made it its mission to make science accessible to everyone; today that encompasses a newly-rounded licensing programme. Licensing.biz explores these new horizons.
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‘Welcome to the home of human ingenuity’, reads The Science Museum’s twitter bio, warmly embracing its near three quarters of a million online followers.

‘We curate a world-renowned collection and organise exhibitions and events for over three million visitors each year.’

I’ve just started following them. Already it’s been one of my smartest moves this week. Amid the 31, 400 Tweets it’s sent out since its launch to social media, there are call outs to some of its latest exhibitions, ‘happy birthday’ messages to some of history’s most esteemed inventors and details of an upcoming screening of Marvel’s Black Panther.

Given the context, not a single one of these seems out of place. Since 1909, the Science Museum has made it its mission to make science accessible and cater to the needs of ‘the ordinary visitor’ ahead of the world’s specialists, doing so by making science and scientific discovery more relatable.

And what could be more relatable than Disney’s globally blockbusting Marvel franchise? The screening itself is to be held in celebration of International Women in Engineering Day on June 23. It will culminate in a panel discussion with some ‘real-life female engineering superheroes.’

It’s proof that, when it comes to forward thinking for the advancement of society, The Science Museum doesn’t stop short at the collection it houses, but in the messaging it delivers across the globe.

The same can be said of its licensing activity, a currently flourishing arm to this multi-faceted organisation. And it’s only about to get bigger.

“2018 is an exciting year of growth and development for Science Museum Group licensing,” Jack Stokes, senior account manager of brand licensing at the Science Museum Group, tells Licensing.biz.

The Museum’s history within licensing is already rich, and in 2017 it posted a “record year in terms of licensing revenues.” It’s become synonymous with science kits, innovative toys and gadgets within the children’s and educational sectors. But, much like its attitude towards everything it does, it understands there’s more to be discovered.

“We are working closely with our licensees to move them into new product areas, but also provide support from a marketing and promotion point of view,” continues Stokes.

“Science Museum is well known for science kits, toys and gadgets and we feel there is a fantastic opportunity for us to move the brand into additional, logical product areas where we can bring expertise, innovation and trust.”

Clementoni Set

Many in the licensing space – and indeed the consumers amongst us – will already be familiar with the Science Museum instantly recognisable white and pink packaging, something that has constantly been listed at retail since the initial launch of its licensing programme over ten years ago.

Well, it’s about to change. This year, it has been updated in line with the Science Museum re-brand.

“It’s already been very well received,” says Stokes. “Harrods named two of our Science Museum approved products as their hero products prior to the relaunch of its Toy Kingdom, and we can’t wait to see further reactions to our new ranges in the run-up to Christmas.”

The new logo, known as the Illumination logo aims to link everything the Museum Group is striving to achieve with its licensing programme, with the goal of engaging its consumers with the world of science and building science capital across the UK.

“To facilitate this growth and exploration into new product categories, we are currently working on a brand new guideline document which will provide an overview of the assets we offer, as well as new, previously unseen, artwork that licensees can apply direct onto product,” explains Stokes.

“These assets celebrate iconic elements from our extensive collection and they have been re-imagined in a new way.”

Recently, The Science Museum has been plugging ticket sales to its autumn exhibition, The Sun: Living With Our Star, a study of the threat of space weather and solar storms. It opens with the fact that 97 per cent of us are unaware it exists and 80 per cent of those are not phased about its potential impact on our home planet.

It rings of an ambitious exhibition, but it’s not the only string the Museum Group’s bow, being, as it is, part of a far wider group that comprises: Science Museum London, National Science and Media Museum Bradford, Museum of Science and Industry Manchester, National Railway Museum York and Locomotion Shildon.

Each of them, of course, host their own major exhibitions throughout the year.

“There are many exciting projects scheduled for these museums to align them with the Science Museum from a brand and outlook point of view,” continues Stokes. “With the recent re-brand of the Railway Museum, we are keen to see how we can move this highly desirable brand into new product areas, specifically engineering.”

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Finally, Little Flying Scotsman will have its first product released over the next few weeks and we will be rolling out a licensing programme to accompany this. Little Flying Scotsman harks back to the thrill of travel at the turn of the 20 Century, a period of revolution, innovation and broader horizons.

“The brand itself celebrates the Flying Scotsman’s achievement of being the world’s first steam engine to break the 100mph barrier, as well as some logos and original artworks relating to the Flying Scotsman’s historic international voyages.”

To find out more about the Science Museum’s Groups plans for 2019 and to become a part of its journey, contact licensing@sciencemuseum.ac.uk.

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