The schools learning programmes at both No. 1 Royal Crescent and the Herschel Museum of Astronomy have been recognised for their quality with a prestigious Sandford Award.
Ratified by the Heritage Education Trust and independently judged, the Sandford Awards focus on formal, curriculum-linked education opportunities offered to schools by heritage sites.
Made annually, and lasting for five years, they provide a ‘kitemark’ recognised by schools and other educational institutions across the United Kingdom.
Polly Andrews, the Trust’s Learning and Engagement Officer, said: “At both museums we aim to offer an informative, immersive and fun experience for all schools, tailoring the content to support their work in class.
“We are very aware that a 2½ hour visit to our museums might just be the spark that lights a lifelong interest in history and heritage in a child, so we make it as dynamic and exciting as we can – we don’t waste a second of the precious time that we have with the class!”
At No. 1, the focus is on architectural and social history where school children and young people explore how an eighteenth-century house was built and through the use of artefacts, illustrations and practical experiences learn of the lives, social attitudes and daily occupations of Georgian society.
At the Herschel Museum of Astronomy, the lives of the working brother and sister William and Caroline Herschel are revealed, from their early musical careers to the astonishing discoveries they made as amateur astronomers.
Here, the education programme includes outreach sessions in secondary schools and is brought right up to date with the use of space telescopes, infrared cameras and apps.
A mobile planetarium is being developed to further enhance the offer to students in their own schools.
Caroline Kay, Chief Executive of Bath Preservation Trust said: “This is the second Sandford Award for No. 1 Royal Crescent and the first for the Herschel Museum of Astronomy and we are absolutely thrilled that our schools learning programme devised by Polly has been acknowledged as top class at both sites.
“We are proud to provide an exciting and immersive programme for schoolchildren of all ages from Early Years Foundation Stage to Key Stage 4, as well as adult and family learning opportunities.”
Lead Judge Benjamin Smith said of No. 1 Royal Crescent: “No. 1 Royal Crescent thoroughly deserves its second Sandford Award in recognition of the unique and compelling insight it offers visitors into the realities of life for both the wealthy and their servants in 18th century Bath.
“The learning team has demonstrated an impressive creativity and resourcefulness in using the story of Henry Sandford’s tenancy to bring into focus both local and national historical phenomena, creating both a highly stimulating and memorable learning experience delivered in the most authentic of settings.
“Visitors cannot help but be captivated by the stark contrast between the sumptuous decadence of the Georgian elite and the sparse, austere conditions of those who served them.”
Lead Judge Robin Clutterbuck said of the Herschel Museum: “The Herschel Museum of Astronomy, run by the Bath Preservation Trust, offers an excellent heritage education service delivered by a team of knowledgeable and experienced staff and volunteers.
“The diminutive house where William and Caroline Herschel lived between 1777 and 1784 is internationally significant, and visitors can literally walk in the astronomers’ footsteps as they tread on the cracked flagstones of the workshop where the astronomical mirrors were cast and painstakingly polished, and then step into the garden where William Herschel looked through his home-made telescope and discovered the planet Uranus in 1781.
“The programmes offered by the museum are of the highest quality and are fully deserving of a Sandford Award.”