University of Leicester appoints Science Museum Principal Curator for key leadership post

Credit: Science Museum Group

The Science Museum’s Head of Collections and Principal Curator will join the University of Leicester as its new Head of the School of Museum Studies.

Dr Tilly Blyth has worked at the Science Museum for two decades and will also take on the role of Professor of Museum Studies at the University from December.

During her time at the Science Museum, Dr Blyth was charged with leading the curatorial, research, library and archive teams whilst developing world-class galleries and temporary exhibitions.

She co-presented The Art of Innovation for BBC Radio 4 alongside Sir Ian Blatchford, Director of the Science Museum Group. The series was also accompanied by a book and exhibition of the same name.

Dr Blyth has played a major role in the acquisition of significant items for the Science Museum’s collection, including Professor Stephen Hawking’s office.

Speaking about her appointment at the University of Leicester, Dr Blyth said: “As the leading place to study and research museums and galleries in the UK I am delighted to be joining the School at such an important time. Museums are going through a transformation as they develop more sustainable and inclusive practice, whilst building their digital skills.”

“It is my hope that I can build on the School’s existing links with the sector to increase access to postgraduate study, think about what is relevant to the sector in the future and where academic research might inform professional practice.”

Dr Blyth will be overseeing teaching and learning within the School of Museum Studies alongside the school’s research centre. She will also be looking into policy and practice within the museum sector.

University of Leicester’s School of Museum Studies is the only autonomous department in the UK dedicated to the study of museums and galleries. Founded in 1966, it is also the oldest and largest unit of its kind in the world.

Dr Blyth said: “The school has always been sector leading and that was one of the things that drew me to the role. I wanted to bring some of the pioneering practice at the Science Museum Group to the rest of the sector.”

“The Science Museum recruits a large number of staff from the School and the University of Leicester is seen as the place to grow and inspire the next generation of museum professionals.”

Professor Henrietta O’Connor, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Head of College for the College of Social Science, Arts and Humanities said: “I’m delighted with our appointment of Tilly Blyth. Tilly brings a wealth of experience from the museums sector and beyond.

“She has articulated a clear vision for Museum Studies at Leicester and she impressed the panel with her understanding of the School’s outstanding reputation along with its distinctive values and ethos.  

“We are all looking forward to working with Tilly as part of the College of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities team when she joins us on December 1st.”

Dr Julia Knights, Deputy Director of the Science Museum said: “Tilly has made an enormous contribution during two decades at the Science Museum Group and her legacy will live on in

a number of landmark galleries that have transformed the Science Museum, not least Information Age that Tilly personally led.

“It’s wonderful that Tilly will be harnessing the sector-leading, innovative practice at the Science Museum towards inspiring and growing future museum professionals at Leicester University.”