The Captain Cook Birthplace Museum at Stewart Park and the Dorman Museum have been awarded 2016 Sandford Awards for the quality of their provision for young visitors.
During May this year each museum was visited by a Sandford judge who observed school children taking part in the museum’s education programme.
The judge was able to meet and talk to all staff along with the teachers and students involved, while also being given a comprehensive view of all areas of the museum used for study purposes.
The judge’s comments on each venue demonstrate the high standards on show:
The Dorman Museum
“…provides a high quality schools’ programme which promotes active, independent, enquiry based and collaborative learning.
Many activities take place on the galleries and up close to the collections and there is an exceptional Education Suite which is very well equipped for complementary practical activities. Staff are highly competent and knowledgeable and provide strong support for the curriculum.”
The Captain Cook Birthplace Museum
“…offers primary children a wealth of opportunities to engage with and be inspired by the life and achievements of Captain James Cook. Its key strengths lie in the quality of its staff who facilitate active, independent, enquiry based and collaborative learning and the opportunities it provides for children to work on the galleries up close to the fascinating collections.”
The Sandford Awards provide a ‘kite mark’ for high quality education provision which is recognised by schools and other education institutions across the United Kingdom.
The awards are an independently judged, quality assured assessment of education programmes at heritage sites, museums, archives and collections across the British Isles.
More than 350 sites – including historic houses, museums, galleries, places of worship, gardens, landscapes and collections – have received an Award since the scheme began in 1978.
The awards focus on formal, curriculum-linked education opportunities offered to schools by heritage sites, although recognition is also made of informal learning such as family programmes.
Councillor Lewis Young, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Sport, said: “We know how good our museums are and how highly they are valued by those who visit them, but it’s always gratifying to have that view confirmed by independent observers.
“I’m delighted that the Captain Cook Birthplace and Dorman Museums have made the select list of 2016 Sandford Award winners, and it’s an accolade they thoroughly deserve.
“Museums have a vital educational role, and nowhere can that be seen more clearly in our two flagship museums which are treasure troves of inspiration and learning for young minds.
“The awards are a tribute to the hard work of staff and everyone involved with both venues and will stand them in good stead for the future.”