Leeds Museums and Galleries sites hit new heights of educational excellence

Caption: Thwaites Mills Watermill is also the owner of a Sandford Award.

All Leeds Museums and Galleries sites across the city are now the proud holders of a prestigious education honour.

This follows Lotherton Hall becoming the latest recipient to be granted a Sandford Heritage Education Award, which recognises the quality of learning programmes at heritage sites, museums, archives and collections across the British Isles.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council’s executive member for digital and creative technologies, culture and skills said:

"It is really fantastic news that Lotherton Hall has received a Sandford Education Award, which completes the set of Leeds Museums and Galleries sites in the city to be given this honour.

"We are working extremely hard to put together a range of activities and events at our museums and galleries that are both educational and fun, and I would like to thank every member of our fantastic learning team for their tremendous efforts in helping us achieve this accolade."

Sites already granted the award in the past two years include: Leeds City Museum, Leeds Art Gallery, Abbey House Museum, Temple Newsam House, Leeds Discovery Centre, Leeds Industrial Museum at Armley Mills, Thwaites Mills Watermill and Kirkstall Abbey.

In making their adjudication, the judges have been full of praise for the learning programmes that the Leeds Museums and Galleries’ sites offer. These have been described overall as providing “programmes which ‘are engaging and well put together’ and offering ‘imaginative and engaging learning experiences especially for younger children through ‘engaging and highly skilled staff.’

Around 250,000 children and young people visit Leeds Museum and Gallery sites annually and the numbers of school children taught each year is now over 40,000. The innovative ‘MyLearning’ website also reached 285,115 users last year.

Abbey House Museum has been described as providing ‘a thoroughly engaging and highly polished experience for schools, using enablers of great experience and ability’, while Leeds Art Gallery ‘offers a wonderful experience for young people to engage creatively with contemporary art.’ An experience of a visit to Leeds Discovery Centre has also earned great acclaim, offering ‘inspiring sessions’, while at historic Temple Newsam House a trip is’ both memorable and educationally effective’. The collections and learning staff at Leeds City Museum were also praised as being ‘enthusiastic and highly skilled.’

Quality rubberstamped for five years by the Sandford judges who called this particular award, ‘well deserved’, Lotherton Hall, which continues to be one of the city’s most popular attractions, offers a range of family themed activities and events which are ‘both educational and fun.’

This includes a range of rare items and collections coupled with an interactive approach for visitors to enjoy hands- on experiences in a country house by exploring the story of Lotherton’s Hall’s creators and landed family: the Gascoignes, and find out more about their travels around the world from the 1700s onwards as well as what life was like for both servants and masters at the turn of the Twentieth Century. Additional interactive elements include: a dressing-up room and the latest in computer animation technological tactile interpretation.

The grounds of the estate are also a haven for a wide range of wildlife and feature a range of attractions including two play areas, a deer park, bird garden, shops and stables, a gift shop and café.

For more information regarding Lotherton Hall, please see: http://www.leeds.gov.uk/museumsandgalleries/Pages/Lotherton-Hall.aspx

Sue Davies, Head of Learning at Leeds Museums and Galleries said:

"I am extremely proud that our ambition to raise the standard of excellence of our educational programmes at our museums and galleries over the past 10 years has resulted in all of our sites now earning a Heritage Education Sandford Award.

"We certainly will not be resting on our laurels however after reaching this landmark, and will be continuing to investigate all avenues as part of our ambition to improve even further the educational programmes that we already offer. It is testament to the hard work, dedication and expertise of our staff that we hold these awards for which they need to be justly praised and recognised."

Notes to editors:

The Sandford Award is an independently judged, quality assured assessment of education programmes at heritage sites, museums, archives and collections across the British Isles. For more information, please see: http://sandfordaward.org/

Other sites to be also given the Sandford Award include; Leeds City Museum, Leeds Art Gallery, Abbey House Museum, Temple Newsam House, Leeds Discovery Centre, Leeds Industrial Museum at Armley Mills, Thwaites Mills Watermill and Kirkstall Abbey.

In the last 3 years 99% of all Leeds primary schools and 97% of all Leeds secondary schools have visited the Leeds Museums and Galleries Service. In terms of the reach extending beyond Leeds 63% of total visits were from Leeds schools and 37% were from non-Leeds based schools. The Artemis School Loan Service is reporting a tripling of the numbers of teachers accessing their service through use of the Picture Loan Scheme.

Lotherton Hall:

Lotherton Hall Estate is a charming Edwardian house and country estate. A single entrance price allows access to the house, with its wonderful collections of fine and decorative arts and a dedicated fashion gallery, and extensive grounds with an abundance of activities to keep everyone busy. Lotherton Hall has undergone numerous changes over the last few years since becoming one whole visitor attraction. With this new and larger audience the house has adapted by improving access and introducing a new range of family-friendly facilities. Other recent improvements have seen the re-opening of the Servants’ Rooms on the ground floor following a major restoration last year.

Lotherton Hall has been displaying fashion since its early days of being a museum in 1968, showing fine examples of both historic and more contemporary fashions.

Address: Lotherton Lane, Aberford, Leeds, LS25 3EB

Tel: 0113 378 2959

Email: lotherton.hall@leeds.gov.uk

Web address: www.leeds.gov.uk/lothertonhall

See our member’s page for year round entry: www.leeds.gov.uk/lothertonmembers

Summer opening times (March to October) House, café, shop and bird garden: 10:00 to 17:00 with last entry at 16:15. Estate gates: 07:30 to 20:00.

For media enquiries, please contact;

Colin Dickinson, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 39 51578

Email: colin.dickinson@leeds.gov.uk