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The Science Museum faces a barrage of opposition over its stance on fossil fuel sponsorship

23 March 2024:


The Science Museum found itself at the centre of growing controversy as over 150 people held a mass protest demanding it joins the rest of the culture sector in ending its controversial sponsorship deals with major fossil fuel companies. A huge 12-metre banner spanning the full height of the museum was unfurled inside its iconic Energy Hall while protesters flowed through the museum chanting ‘Adani out!’. It comes as the museum opens a new climate gallery sponsored by the controversial coal mining and arms-producing conglomerate Adani, which will join fossil fuel firm BP and Norwegian oil company Equinor as sponsors of the museum. 

Read more here

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21 March 20224

Fossil Free Science Museum staged a protest as guests and VIP, including museum trustee Baroness Nicky Morgan, arrived to the opening of the new ‘Energy Revolution’ gallery sponsored by coal baron Adani. The museum had tried to keep the opening date underwrap to dodge controversy and avoid embarrassment.

Earlier in the week, spoof adverts for the new ‘Energy Revolution’ gallery appeared on London’s tube network, posted by a parody account of the Science Museum’s Director Ian Blatchford. 

Add Pete’s film (see below). Credit Pete Knapp

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Feb 2024:


1 Feb 2024 - Greta joins Scientists for XR, Health for XR and Extinction Rebellion to challenge the museum’s Science Director Roger Highfield over the museum’s partnership with coal giant Adani.

The protest was reported in more than 10 news outlets, including a mention of Channel 4 news reporting on Greta’s trial.

Watch it here

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Aug 2023:


Inside the Science Museum’s Wellcome medicine gallery, health professionals unfurled a banner beside the huge ‘tattooed man’ and gave a series of talks highlighting the many links between fossil fuels, the climate crisis and their devastating impacts on health. More than 100 of them wrote to the trustees highlighting why they believe that the Science Museum should cut its ties with climate wrecking fossil fuel companies.


Watch it here

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June 2023:

During the Great Exhibition Road Festival that attracts large crowds for a spectacular display of art and science, Extinction Rebellion smuggle a huge banner into The Museum’s Energy Hall to shine a light on the Science Museum’s shameful interactions with the fossil fuel industry. Scientists for XR, wearing their white lab coats, were showered with black paper confetti, representing the damage caused by The Museum’s coal, oil and gas sponsors. Different campaign groups also set up a guerilla stand in the heart of The Great Exhibition Road Festival, engaging the public about The Museum’s sponsors.


Photo credit: Andrea Domeniconi 

April - June 2023 :


In a letter to the Science Museum Trustees, we challenged the museum management’s claim that Adani Green Energy is independent from the other Adani businesses and that no partnership was ever proposed for a corporate sponsorship specifically with the Adani Group.

As the answer received from Dame Mary Archer, chair of the trustees, did not address any of our concerns, we tried again with a new letter addressed to all trustees. We are none the wiser after the second response from Dame Mary

March 2023:


  • We sent a copy of the newly published hard back photo-book 'Science Museum Group: an unravelling tragedy’ to all Science Museum’s trustees and advisors. 
    This book is based on the Museum’s own disturbing 12-page due diligence report into the Adani Group that the trustees did not see. It brings to life a catalogue of criminal investigations, corruption litigation, environmental issues, cronyism and human rights abuses.
    Read more and see the book here


  • Our coalition made its way inside the Science Museum to hold an unsanctioned book launch. Our speakers talked about the impact of Adani on local communities in South Asia and how inviting Adani to sponsor the Energy Revolution Gallery is a huge step backwards for the credibility of the cultural sector.
    Read more in the Museums Association Newsletter  

  • After the revelations that Adani Green Shares were used as collateral for coal expansion, Norway’s largest pension company dropped their share in Adani. Renowed scientists called the sponsorship deal “reprehensible” and warn the Science Museum that its global reputation is at risk.
    Read more in The Art Newspaper


Photo credit: AC

August 2022:


Over 1000 tickets booked for the Science Museum's "India Lates” event went unused, as protesters called for the cancellation of the Museum’s sponsorship deal with Indian coal-producing conglomerate Adani. South Asia Solidarity Group questioned Museum Director Ian Blatchford about the Adani deal and left a 'Coal Out of Our Museum' message at the heart of the event. Read more

July 2022:


Hundreds of teachers pledge to boycott the Science Museum gallery sponsored by Adani. Over 400 teachers signed an open letter, saying "If your proposed Energy Revolution gallery (due to open in 2023) is sponsored by Adani, then we will not be bringing our students to it  – or any other exhibition sponsored by a fossil fuel company. Read more

Hundreds of teachers boycott Science Museum show over Adani sponsorship

"Hundreds of teachers have pledged not to take their students to a new exhibition at the Science Museum until it cancels its sponsorship deal with a company linked to the coalminer Adani."


Read the story in The Guardian

June 2022:


Two protests in one day at the Science Museum demanded that it drop Adani as a sponsor.

May 2022:


The majority of the UK public thinks that the Science Museum should not accept fossil fuel sponsorship.

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April 2022:


Science Museum cancels event as speakers withdraw over fossil fuel sponsorship. Professor Celia Morgan and Dr Rosalind Watts pulled out of Lates at the Science Museum to protest against the management decision to continue accepting sponsorship from fossil fuel companies. Read more here

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February 2022:


Brazilian digital artist João Queiroz pulls out of the Science Museum’s upcoming exhibition, Voyage to the Edge of Imagination, in protest against its deal with Adani, in solidarity with Indigenous communities. Read more here.

January 2022:


  • Indigenous Voices are brought directly to the Science Museum via films played on an Ad Van, along with a solidarity protest organised by a coalition of 11 different groups (Coal Action Network; Culture Unstained; Fossil Free London; London Mining Network; Market Forces; South Asia Solidarity Group; Tipping Point UK; UK Student Climate Network London; Scientists for XR; Survival International; XR Hammersmith and Fulham)

  • Over 5000 letters are sent asking the Science Museum to listen to Indigenous people and drop Adani.

December 2021:


  • Former UK Chief Scientist Sir David King criticises the Science Museum for fossil fuel sponsorship in the Guardian.

  • A large group of leading scientists and former contributors to the Science Museum call the museum’s response to them ‘disappointing and patronising’ and call on it to engage with its critics in a ‘genuine and meaningful way’.

  • Representatives of Indigenous communities impacted by Adani’s coal operations in India, Indonesia and Australia call on the Science Museum to listen to their concerns and drop its sponsorship deal, reports the Guardian.

Indigenous leaders urge London's Science Museum to cut ties with Adani

"Indigenous leaders on the frontline of the climate crisis are calling on the Science Museum to cancel its sponsorship deal with a company they say is responsible for widespread destruction in their homelands."


Read the story in The Guardian

November 2021:

  • Over seventy Extinction Rebellion protestors stage a live art protest at the Lates event inside the Science Museum.

  • Anna Phoebe and Space Rocks cancel their event at the Science Museum because of the Museum’s relationship with fossil fuel companies. Read more here.

  • Channel 4 News reveal that the Science Museum’s contract with Adani Green Energy also includes a “gagging clause”, based on an in-depth investigation by Culture Unstained which revealed that the museum also nearly signed a sponsorship deal with 12 of the world’s biggest oil firms. Read more here.

  • 60 leading scientists and museum contributors commit ‘not to work with’ the Science Museum Group until it announces a moratorium on accepting fossil fuel funding, reports the Guardian.

  • Drs Steve and Dee Allen refuse to allow their work to be included in the Science Museum’s collection because of the institution’s links to Shell, the Guardian reports

Dozens of academics shun Science Museum over fossil fuel ties

"More than 40 senior academics and scientists have vowed not to work with the Science Museum as the row over its financial relationship with fossil fuel corporations escalates"


Read the story in The Guardian

October 2021:


  • Two young people are barred from entering the museum less than a day after the Chair of Trustees promised to 'engage...with those who disagree with our position'

  • Former Trustee, Dr Sarah Dry reveals that she had opposed the museum’s decision to accept sponsorship from Adani.

  • The Wangan and Jagalingou cultural custodians, traditional owners of the land where Adani is building a giant coal mine in Australia, speak out against the Adani sponsorship and museum Director Ian Blatchford’s dismissal of their concerns on BBC Radio 4 

  • BBC Front Row: Director Ian Blatchford is challenged over the sponsorship deal with Adani.

  • UK Student Climate Network London organise a vigil and overnight occupation of the Science Museum to remember the victims of fossil fuel companies. 

  • On the day the Science Museum welcomes top investors in innovation for a Global Investment Summit, the museum and Adani announce their new sponsorship deal, provoking widespread negative media coverage - see the FT, Guardian, Independent and Sky for example. Extinction Rebellion’s protest highlights that the Science Museum is ‘doubling down’ on its ‘reckless’ choices of funder 

  • Former Science Museum director, Prof Chris Rapley CBE resigns from the Science Museum’s Advisory Board over the issue of fossil fuel sponsorship.

Cop26: Presenter Hannah Fry quits over Science Museum's coal links.

Read the story in The  Times

London's Science Museum agrees sponsorship with arm of coal producer Adani group.

"London’s Science Museum has doubled down on its sponsorship by oil and gas companies by striking a deal with a subsidiary of Adani Group, a conglomerate with coal mining operations in India, Indonesia and Australia."

Read the story in the Financial Times

September 2021:

Young climate campaigners from UK Student Climate Network London request formally that their placards the Science Museum has on display be removed - and they are.



"The Science Museum has said it will take down a placard created by a student for the school climate strikes after an appeal to remove it from an exhibition sponsored by Shell"


Read the story in The Guardian

August 2021:

The museum is the target of Extinction Rebellion protests over the Shell sponsorship, with Scientists for XR leading a 70-strong overnight occupation of the museum, reports the Telegraph.

Extinction Rebellion Protestors glue themselves to Science Museum.

"Around 200 people have gathered in the Science Museum in London to protest against an oil giant sponsoring an exhibition about greenhouse gases.

Supporters of Extinction Rebellion stood outside the museum waving flags and banners, playing drums and blowing whistles on Sunday night, before going inside and refusing to leave."


Read the story in The Telegraph

July 2021:

June 2021:

Young activists are threatened with arrest after staging an after-hours occupation of the Science Museum in protest over fossil fuel sponsorship, reports the Guardian.

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May - December 2021:

  • Local residents led by Extinction Rebellion Hammersmith & Fulham maintain a weekly presence outside the Science Museum, giving flyers and stickers to the museum’s visitors and staging numerous theatrical performances over that period. 

May 2021:

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April 2021:

  • Young people (UK Student Climate Network London) write a letter calling on the Science Museum to drop Shell, supported by more than 200 organisations and scientists. It’s covered by the Guardian.

  • More than 8,000 people pledge to boycott the exhibition “Our future planet”.

  • More than 50,000 people sign a petition asking the Science Museum to drop Shell as a sponsor.

  • Scientist, Dr Emma Sayer, tells the Museums Association Journal she regrets working on the Science Museum’s exhibition now she knows it’s sponsored by Shell.

  • Scientists speak out against the announcement of Shell sponsorship of the new exhibition “Our future planet”.

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