Report by
Richard Heathcote
2007 Churchill Fellow
Cathy Lewis and her daughters with Richard Heathcote at Corfe Castle
I understand that the Churchill Trust may publish this Report, either in hard copy or on
the internet or both, and consent to such publication.
I indemnify the Churchill Trust against any loss, cost or damages it may suffer arising out
of any claim or proceedings made against the Trust in respect of or arising out of any
Report submitted to the Trust and which the Trust places on a website for access over
the internet.
I also warrant that my Final Report is original and does not infringe the copyright of any
person, or contain anything which is, or the incorporation of which into the Final Report
is, actionable for deformation, a breach of any privacy law or obligation, breach of
confidence, contempt of court, passing-off or contravention of any other private right or
of any law.
Richard Heathcote
Dated 3 September 2008
Executive Summary
Full Churchill Report
Appendix 1 – Program: Record and Analysis of sites visited &
materials collected
Appendix 2 – Schedule of contacts & professional meetings
Appendix 3 – Roald Dahl’s recipe for a good children’s tale
Appendix 4 – Guardian: Kids in Museums Manifesto
‘How to make heritage sites more accessible to children through Interpretation
and play’
The findings of this study tour will be directly applied to planning family facilities
at Carrick Hill. Attendances have been significantly increased at the site through
the Children’s Literary Trail introduced in 2005. Have any other heritage sites
developed family experiences based on interpretation of the significance of the
site? This was what I went in search of and many of the ideas and approaches I
studied will be applied to Carrick Hill and the Family Friendly policy. The
Fellowship provided the most valuable opportunity for multiple visits over a short
period of time. Moreover this concentration of visits enabled me to compare
and contrast what was on offer as well as analyse what the policy makers and
program deliverers were thinking and achieving. Sights were selected for a
number of reasons including:
1. How does a family friendly policy bring about generational change in
Heritage site visitors?
2. How to create a ‘do touch’ environment in a ‘don’t touch’ place. How do
historic places enable children to have tactile experiences with real objects
without compromising the integrity of the interior and conservation protection
of the collections on display?
3. What innovative approaches have been taken to integrate disability friendly
access (ie. Physical, aural and visual impairments) to natural habitats and
sloping sites?
4. How do you engage family groups to experience the natural environment
with fragile flora and fauna?
5. How do you rehabilitate eyesores left on the landscape such as quarries and
pits to provide new facilities in keeping with the spirit of the place?
Acknowledgement and particular thanks got to my referees: Minister John Hill
and Professor Jane James; colleagues at Carrick Hill; Cathy Lewis and Elaine
Jones in the UK and Australian Churchill Fellows Miranda Starkey, Rebecca
Knol and Robyn Ashworth for their support and advice.
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Churchill Fellowship Report 2007
Richard Heathcote, 40, Leah Street, Forestville, South Australia, 5035
Director, Carrick Hill Trust, Cultural Heritage Manager, 08 83615583
‘Making heritage more accessible to children through interpretation and play’
After visits to 58 heritage sites and 24 interviews with interpreters and museum
professionals in the UK and Canada, the following points summarise the
1. “Family Friendly” policies and programs must have thorough implementation
strategies in place or the frontline troops do not own the information nor do
they deliver it to the customer as an integral part of the ‘offer’.
2. Market research by English National Trust reveals key divisions in parental
attitudes to being involved in activities with their children on days out.
Therefore programs must be tailored specifically to cater for the various
attitudes or they will fail to deliver good experiences and families will not
repeat their visit.
3. Historic houses when considering how to make a ‘do touch’ experience in a
‘don’t touch’ place (ie. historic Interiors) should consider establishing specific
handling collections of relevant objects to the house, its functions and style.
Tactile and visceral experiences are the most powerful for children.
4. The role of a ranger/wildlife officer for the care and interpretation of the
natural environment is a powerful tool in engaging the young and their
imaginations in the natural world. Integrating disability access to outdoor trails
can also be achieved without undue requirements.
To broadcast my findings public lectures are booked over the next twelve
months: in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Hobart with various heritage and
museum organisations. A paper will be given at the Interpretation Association of
Australia’s national conference to be held in Adelaide in October 2008. An
article is to be published in Adelaide’s Child and in various museum and
interpretation journals.
Over the next three years Carrick Hill will be implementing a number of initiatives
to extend its attraction to families seeking bush and environmental experiences;
a ‘do touch’ program involving establishing a handling collection and an
extension to the Children’s Literary Trial based on many of the ideas collected
and adapted from the Fellowship.
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Churchill Fellowship Report 2007
Full Report – Richard Heathcote – 2007 Fellowship
My particular interest was to visit heritage places that used good interpretation to
reveal the sites’ unique qualities and attract families through this particular
experience. I was not interested in facilities that had been added (eg.
playgrounds, places where ball games can be played etc) to generally occupy
or entertain children. If heritage sites are to achieve generational change in their
audiences and sow the seed in the child’s mind, a more integrated approach is
required, focussing on the significance and value of the place.
Most historic houses and gardens have as their main audience people over
sixty, who have the time, money and inclination to make regular visits for their
enjoyment. They tend to dominate such places. This forms a kind of
colonisation effect, deterring other age groups who are put off by the
dominance of grey power. To counter-act this requires both careful product
planning and marketing to other sections of the community. This Fellowship
focuses on children (3-8yrs) and the family group, and my primary interest was
seeking out good examples of engaging interpretation for families and children.
Refers to providing ways for families and children to engage with a heritage site
and its significance.
Interpretation aims to make visitors aware of a site’s values and of the need to
conserve them. Interpretation aims to raise a visitor’s understanding,
awareness, and appreciation of the place and thus contributes to the visitor’s
The significance of an historic site is revealed through its artistic, scientific,
technological, botanical content and/or social history. One of the most effective
ways for visitors to understand and enjoy the significance of the place is through
good interpretation. The ability to deliver this meaning for adults and children is a
highly skilled process. Professional interpreters are often on the staff or retained
as consultants to projects aimed at attracting families to visit and repeat visit the
The fellowship brought me into contact with several of Britain’s top practitioners
in this area: Cathy Lewis (Freelance Frog Hopper Design), Elaine Jones
(Pembroke Coast National Park), Dr Ruth Taylor (Royal Horticultural Society,
Wisley), Dr Jo Elsworthy (Eden Project) and Mathew Tyler-Jones (National Trust,
SE Region). I also visited the Museum and Heritage Show held at Earls Court (9
May) where I was able to talk with Heritage Interpretation Association
representatives about my fellowship. I received several recommendations
including Dr Ruth Taylor’s invitation to visit RHS at Wisley in Surrey.
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Churchill Fellowship Report 2007
Carrick Hill is a historic house and garden in Adelaide, South Australia and is set
on a hillside amongst 40 hectares of bushland twenty minutes from the city
centre. The Churchill Fellowship provided the research and development
required to continue to extend Carrick Hill’s appeal to families.
See Appendix 1 for the full itinerary of visits. Set out below are notes on
interviews with 24 interpreters and heritage professionals at various sites in
England, Wales, Scotland and Canada.
There were four main distinctions between the sites visited (see analysis table in
Appendix 1):
a) Integrated activities for children and families;
b) Retro fitted activities for children and families;
c) No special activities or programs in place other than the site’s inherent
qualities that might interest families.
d) No interest in having children on site.
CHERYL BRYAN: Director of Children’s Education, Winchester Cathedral,
Winchester, Hampshire. 9 May, 2008.
Points that emerged whilst being taken round the Wicked Winchester Cathedral
Trail for children: Dull and boring guides for kids are everywhere so “Death by
Worksheet” is not a solution - banish them. What appeals to children about the
cathedral are its creepy, grotesque and tactile qualities. Key practical point: the
height of things must be suitable for children to see properly. Irreverence is
used a lot as kids love the fact that a ’holy’ place also has humour and the
‘naughtiness’ factor of all the goings on. Tactile factor (‘Do Touch’ aspects)
adds vitality and allowing them to do something they expect they are not
allowed to do (eg. lying down on the knave floor to look at the ceiling).
Encouraging families to do the trail together has also contributed to its success.
CATHY LEWIS – Froghopper Design (Heritage Interpretation) & TONY KERINS
Graphic designer& illustrator. Swanage, Dorset. 10 May, 2008.
Cathy Lewis specialises in children’s interpretation and works freelance for
clients such as the National Trust, the Tank Museum and the Royal Lifeboat
Society. Winchester Cathhedral, Dunster and Corfe Castles were visited on her
recommendation and the latter with her and her two daughters. The visit
revealed that kids like a good story (see Roald Dahl’s recipe for a good
children’s tale Appendix 3.)
Conclusions: writing interpretation for children has to connect with things that
provoke their interest (eg. ghosts & toilet humour) and in language that speaks
to them and not necessarily adults. Thorough research and testing the scheme
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with children underpins successful interps for kids. To make brochures and
maps come alive the designer has to be in the process as early as possible – at
concept stage. A map can be a beautiful thing as well as a practical tool for
delivering information and directions. Dunster Castle Bat and Ghost trails were
still works in progress and seeing them before they were finished was valuable.
EDEN PROJECT – Dr Jo Elsworthy (Head of In terpretation Services) Boldelva, St
Austell, Cornwall. 14 May, 2008.
Passion, commitment and creativity were the driving forces exuded by Dr Jo
Elsworthy who led the team of some thirty staff working in this area. Eden is
rightly named a ‘Project’ (or ‘a proposition for communicating a message’) as
the recycled clay pit is not a particularly valuable site in heritage terms. It is
more a residual symbol of industrial history, that continues today in clay mining
close by. Making something optimistic from a wasteland scar on the landscape
is directly relevant to Carrick Hill’s interest regarding disused quarries. Eden has
a highly visible Vision, Mission and Message – it is in the business of
proselytising to its customers: ‘We built Eden because we’re inspired by the
belief that we can all work together towards a better future. It’s a meeting place
for current thinking about future possibilities’. It is seven years since
commencement of the project and Eden’s scale of operation now requires ongoing capital and project fundraising of major proportion to sustain the infrastructure of the site as an employer and tourist attraction. The lesson here was
about selecting the appropriate scale to operate at and avoid the cart driving the
horse syndrome. Interestingly one of their topics is ‘selling sustainability’.
(x18 peresonnel) Eden Project, Boldeva, St Austell, Cornwall. 21 May 2008.
‘Eden is about spectacle, education, the application of science and social
change; its plants represent the world’s greatest collection of plants useful to
man ever gathered in one place. A place where facts can be trusted and
discussion remain open’ Tim Smit, Chief Executive, Eden Project. The team to
deliver spectacle, education etc. are quirkily named the Pollination Team and I
attended their morning briefing session. Eighteen interpreters are engaged
each day the site is open and involved in story telling, planting demonstrations,
orientation walks and talks and interactive engagement with visitors
emphasising that it is a place to play and explore our connections with nature.
A highly organised and very impressive program - they also explained the
powerful family activity days including ‘Den Building’ where families create little
structures from various natural materials they can collect to design and build a
shelter to eat their picnic and spend the day. Den building days were now held
at regular intervals eagerly awaited and attracting strong attendance. They
demonstrated the public’s interest in interactive family activities, a concept
Carrick Hill will adapt and trial. Eden’s style is narrative driven, high fun factor
and inclusive. Premise: Everyone wants to be a child again.
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TOM HAYNES – Discovery Centre Ranger & Site Manager, Wistlandpound,
South West Lakes Trust & CAROLINE KESWICK Calvert Exmoor Trust,
Barnstaple, Devon. 16 May, 2008.
Wistlandpound consists of two trails each about 2.2km in length that take
roughly an hour to complete. One is a Discovery Trail with history and wildlife
features; the other a Challenge Trail with points that put your mind and body to
the test. Both are open to the public and integrate disability access on a sloping
site with the lake reservoir as the central feature. The purpose of the visit was to
understand how this project jointly funded with the Calvert Trust (specialising in
outdoor facilities and experiences for children with disabilities) and SWL Trust
who are water resource managers with a social/environmental charter. Tom
Haynes conducted me on a tour of the site facilities, the trails and their
respective histories so I could experience them first hand. He had had
considerable experience in managing flora and fauna as well as environmental
education programs. His task had been to plan and implement interpretation
and introduce the use of the trails with their multi agency funding structure under
a project entitled: Unlocking Potential’. He provided a copy of a most useful
document entitled: ‘Learning about Wistlandpound’ – An Outline Education and
Interpretation Strategy. This plus the practical advice about path and boardwalk
construction for wheel chairs with regard to gradients, surface material and
other facilities was most valuable. The Calvert Trust’s mission was to ‘Enable
kids with disabilities to enjoy the countryside’ and Caroline Keswick’s brief was
to work with the Discovery Centre Ranger (Tom Haynes) to deliver this including
raising the funding.
ELAINE JONES – Interpretation Officer, Pembroke Coastal National Park. Tenby,
Pembrokeshire. 21 May 2008.
Pembrokeshire Coast National Park covers 620 square kilometres of rugged
coastline, wild uplands and tranquil rivers. It is one of Britain’s smallest and most
densely populated national parks – a living working environment where people
and nature co-exist. Elaine Jones had visited Australia as a British Churchill
Fellow in 2006 and offered generous and expert advice about her and the
PCNP’s interpretation work. Tenby Discovery Trail was her most recent project
comprising of a booklet that families received free of charge that engaged them
in exploring the social history and significant sites of this charming seaside town
with a dramatic cliff top setting. I walked the trail and experienced all the
aspects of engagement (and won my trail completion certificate and badge).
The trail performed well but the most important lesson learnt centered on the
front office attendants selling the ‘free’ Trail experience to holiday makers when
they visited Tourist Centres seeking information. This front office/back office void
in communication and product ownership was repeatedly encountered during
the fellowship and is a major lesson of the site visits. Elaine arranged visits to
Castell Henllys and St Fagans, Museum of Welsh Life.
RHONWEN OWEN – Site Manager, Castell Henllys (Iron Age Fort) Nr Newport,
North Pembroke. 20 May, 2008.
An extraordinary site presenting and interpreting the life in a hill top Iron Age Fort
over 2000 years ago. The reconstructed roundhouses were built after
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archaeologists uncovered the original foundations and they are unique in the UK
for their exact location and construction. Although the Primary/Junior schools
program dominates the site (26,000 school children visits pa.) this was an
exceptional site both in its presentation and interpretation of environment and life
for the Celtic culture of the original inhabitants. Characters in costume
performed high quality first person interpretation completely engaging the
students. All experiences at the site were hands on (ie no written work) and the
schools had had an outreach visit through the provision of an Artifact Box to
prepare them for the visit. Other visitors to the site during a school visit get an
enhanced experience, as we watched the round robin of activities (basket
weaving, cooking, wattle & daub wall construction, woad face painting).
Observations revealed how mothers with strollers and disabled visitors on
scooters took in the roundhouses, medicinal herb garden and woodland culture
embodied on the hill site. Black Box self powered generating story posts were a
great story deliverer, suitable for Carrick Hill. University students were also
involved for several years in the extensive archaeological dig program and
discussions on this assisted in planning a similar link Carrick Hill has with a
Flinders University program.
TREVOR ROACH – Deputy Director, Education, National Botanic Garden of
Wales, Llanarthne, Carmarthenshire. 22 May, 2008.
‘A place for people – the place for plants’ is what the brochure says of this new
botanic garden created as a Millenium project that almost failed. Drastic
financial cuts at the end of the first two years caused completely new
approaches for interpretation and family activities. Old methods were
deliberately dropped (judged both costly and shallow) that set out to ‘amuse and
entertain’ children by separating them from parents and providing care. New
direction provided family fun that was really a cover for family learning involving
practical experiences, engaging the whole family, using collecting and making
activities. Trevor Roach hit the nail on the head when he explained the NBGW’s
Intergenerational Strategy based on informal learning and explained the Key
Performance Indicator gathered by attendants at the exit was: ‘Families
engaged in animated conversation when exiting the gardens’. NBGW selected
this KPI as research revealed many families do not have common connects as
in the past, that domestic life patterns forced disconnectedness into traditional
experiences such as sharing meal times, whole family holidays and
participating in family conversations.
ANGELA HORTIC – Gardener, National Botanic Garden of Wales, Llanarthne,
Carmarthenshire. 22 May, 2008.
A rank and file gardener who embodied the reputation of NBGW as the Friendly
Garden. Spent several hours walking with her and hearing how the philosophy
of the place and its people centered policies had turned things around five years
after the crisis. Lots of lovely ideas for activities such as: the Great Grape Escape
using their Rill (Pooh Sticks variation), Mud modelling, Willow Den making,
campfires for survival, pond dipping, close encounters with plants (the weird and
wonderful). The Life Long Learning Centre ran large program of courses and
events to book as well as the schools facilities called Education in the Outdoor
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Dr PAUL RICHARDS – Chairman of True’s Yard Trust, Kings Lynn, Norfolk. 24
May 2008.
A small museum housed in two small restored fisherman’s cottages which are
all that remains of the fishing community. It captures the harsh realities of
fishing life and the tradition and spirit of this close knit community. Family
activities and particularly appealing children’s days (fishing crafts & laundry days)
are a strong feature of True’s Yard Museum. The main interest for visiting was
the research facilities for Masters and Ph D students using the unique records of
the East Coast Fishing Industry. This small museum had installed an impressive
IT suite and ran courses using the facility for such areas digital photography and
genealogical research producing both income and educational support.
SUSIE BATCHELLOR – Head of Education, Clore Education Centre, Royal
Palaces, Hampton Court, Hampton, Middlesex. 4 June, 2008.
Short interview with Susie Batchellor who explained the value of establishing an
educational centre facility that delivers programs for a great range of groups
including families and holiday activities. The dedicated facility had improved their
delivery of programs to school groups as it covered all the practical
requirements that were not provided in the historic buildings (ie. toilets, cloak
storage, bag drop, wet weather provision, IT & AV equipment for presentation &
warm/dry environment). The building was funded by the Clore Foundation – a
charitable trust but running and maintenance costs came from the operating
RACHEL GADSDEN – Artist in residence, Hampton Court Palace, Hampton,
Middlesex. 4 June, 2008.
The contract (copy supplied) this artist had for her 12 month residency included
30 days dedicated to direct contact and activities with the visiting public. The
brief for her use of the studio facilities and the resulting exhibition were mutually
beneficial and she assured me that it was a valuable experience for the right
artist (careful selection process with clear criteria most important). A very useful
interview assisting in the planning of a possible Carrick Hill residency program
with particular slant on engaging families and children within the program.
ALISON SMITH & LAURA BEDFORD – Education Officers, Geffrye Museum,
Hackney, London. 5 June, 2008.
This ‘Museum of the Home’ specialises in collecting and presenting English
middle class house interiors since 1600s. Housed in an historic building (set of
Almshouses built in 1714) the Geffrye Museum had won the Guardian Family
Friendly Award in 2007 and their ‘Family Friendly ‘ Approach was a must see
experience for my fellowship theme. (see Appendix 4 for Guardian: Kids in
Museums Manifesto). The resource materials compiled for their Keyhole
program of workshops and Summer Holiday Activities are exceptional both for
the gardens and inside the museum buildings. My tour of the facilities and the
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provision of a full set of brochures and work sheets are an invaluable resource
for Carrick Hill.
The other reason for the visit was to look at the ways the museum achieved its
primary aim of ‘Engaging people with the collections’. The museum is situated
in an area of diverse racial communities and it represents the history of white
middle class England – so how to meet the challenge of achieving its primary
aim? ‘Home’ the study of where you live, function of rooms and the furnishing
and objects in them used comparisons with multicultural groups for whom a
Georgian or Tudor interior is as foreign as their rooms would be for a person
from an anglosaxon/celtic background.
The Geffrye Museum has also developed ‘handling’ collections (ie. sets of
authentic objects specifically for children and students to physically touch and
examine) and online (virtual) collections programs. I was able to see them on
the carts which they were stored/displayed. This material will directly inform the
development of this aspect of Carrick Hill’s work in interpreting the unique
furniture, decorative arts and domestic objects (working life of the house &
garden) collections. I also learnt about Inspired Learning for All (ILFA) and its
generic learning outcomes.
REBECCA WHITE – Family Program Assistant, Docklands Museum, West India
Quay, London. 5 June 2008.
Located in the revitalised Docklands near Canary Wharf this museum has made
great effort to connect with the displaced communities that lived and worked in
the Docklands area as well as other communities in surrounding
neighbourhoods. They have a Family Program department and two dedicated
staff to resource this program aimed at attracting families to use and regularly
visit the museum. An Explorer kit was currently being piloted as a new initiative
and I was able to see and use the prototype.
A great deal of research and work by this section of the Museum of London was
focussed on how to engage with families and enable them to use the museum.
Engaging families in activities was a major gateway into regular visiting.
JILL TODD – Site Manager, Groombridge Gardens & Enchanted Forest, Kent. 6
June 2008.
Groombridge revealed great disparity in the family friendly ‘offer’ between the
formal gardens of this 17th Century property and a nearby Beech wood, in
another part of the property, developed into a Children’s Enchanted Forest. This
second facility truly capitalised on the natural environment and with deft
additions by various artists it introduced enchantment such as: wicker woven life
size dinosaurs, large bones carved from fallen tree trunks, a gypsy
encampment complete with three caravans, dark wood climbing walk way and
giant swings hanging 12 metres down from beech trees. The paths through the
wood were multi directional encouraging exploration and there were ample
opportunities to discover both the natural places and ‘enchanted’ features
added to the Forest. Children are enraptured by these experiences and the
woods hold a special magic through these enhancements.
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MATHEW TYLER-JONES & ANITA GOODWIN: Manager & Interpretation Officer,
SE Region, National Trust, Scotney Castle, Seven Oaks, Kent. 6 June 2008.
The National Trust has been slow to specifically address the families market but
spurred by such pressures as Heritage Lottery funding requirements for more
inclusive and educational access for all sectors of the community, it has made a
beginning in this area. This made the NT a most suitable organisation to
interview to gauge their approach and progress. Market research the Trust had
commissioned revealed six distinct segments in the Days Out market. Such
categories as: ‘Kids First family’ (adults stand back), ‘Explorer Family’ (parents
get involved) and ‘Out and Abouters’ was helping to determine what should be
the ‘Offer’ to this market. Eight Golden questions helped to define the various
categories and the Trust is making haste slowly (NT provided an executive
summary of the research). Retro fit activities and trails are in place at many of
their properties (300+) through out the UK and I visited nine to experience them
directly (ie. Dunster, Drogo & Scotney Castles, Batemans, Hilltop, Lindisfarne,
Walingford, Craigside, Housesteads).
Dr RUTH TAYLOR: Head of Education & Interpretation Services, Royal
Horticultural Society, Woking, Surrey. 10 June, 2008.
One of the three key goals of the RHS is to bring the joy of gardening to a
significant number of UK children through: onsite and off site experiences,
printed material, on line services, visits to its four gardens and five RHS shows
each year plus any other media it can draw on. My three hours with Dr Taylor
introduced me to their extensive program both onsite and off site efforts at
Wisley, the RHS’s oldest and most impressive garden. Of particularly interest
were the on-site activities for children and families including the recently
introduced the Garden Explorer Pack (aimed at 7-12 yr olds) containing
magnifying glass, binoculars, pen, measuring tape, pedometer, specimen
bottles and Passport book with instructions about the journey and tasks to be
undertaken . Growing plants and identifying them made up a greater part of
their activities and more formal education programs. Heritage is a reference
point but peripheral to their main drive of gardening and plant science.
LIZ McFARLANE: Collections & House Manager, Beatrix Potter Gallery & Hill Top
House, Sawrey, Cumbria.
Hill Top farm was Beatrix Potter’s home with her furniture and personal things –
it is where she painted. It suffers from the problems of success with 8 visitors
admitted every eight minutes ( 110,000 pa). Most visitors are adults and a large
proportion of these are Japanese – Potter’s stories are on the Japanese school
curriculum and widely read. The impact of the recent film about her life has also
lifted visitor numbers and I was interested to see how they coped with
preserving the fabric of the house and quality of the experience with such
volumes of foot traffic. Children are catered for by various means: very good
proactive volunteer guides who provide loan copies of the Tale of Samuel
Whiskers that is set at Hill Top Farm and features the interiors that children
search to identify. It is an engaging activity and it works. At the Beatrix Potter
Gallery in Sawrey there are a number of good devices to enable children to view
the displays of her original art works (the NT collection has 739 book
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illustrations). Stools with a central pole to enable kids to see at the level the art
works are displayed for adults are practical and fun, touch screen viewing of the
first floor exhibits for wheel chair visitors and people who cannot manage stairs
was a good alternative and the retail displays are an experience of another kind.
When asked about what approach to families Liz mentioned PLLIAP (ie.
Property Learning and Interpretation Access Plans) but since they were in the
process of developing them no real information was available, but we agreed to
continue communicating about them.
MARK O’NEILL: Head of Arts & Museums, Sport & Culture, Glasgow
Corporation ,Kelvingrove, Glasgow. 20 June 2008.
A truly impressive reorganisation of collection displays presenting them through
interpretation using the stories surrounding objects. The new displays
challenged the previously held assumption that everyone came to the object
with broadly similar cultural and educational background. Eight years in the
planning and spanning the terms of two Directors, Kelvingrove New Century
Project delivers for children and families.
Kelvingrove: the Museum & Art Gallery’s 2006 publication states:
‘The stage was set to receive the reassessed, reconceived and revamped
collections, and this in some ways may challenge the public’s taste more than
the major building alterations’.
It does, and those who do not care for thematic interpretation may find irritating
the division of the displays into two major themes: Life and Expression.
The new approach was tested and evaluated as it progressed by the Visitor
Studies Department and some useful consultative groups were established
such as Junior Board (ie. children) of the Kelvingrove Museum & Art Gallery to
keep displays relevant to younger visitors. Some very good ideas such as the
Mini Museum in the entrance hall for mothers and toddlers displays shoes and
footwear collection objects in cases at child height and then samples of all sorts
of footwear strewn around on the floor to try on and explore.
Final remark from current Director Mark O’Neill about where to focus when in
the planning process: instead of the standard emphasis being ‘outcomes’
driven – rather focus on ‘what’ and ‘how’ the audience’s interest is to be
stimulated or engaged by the object and its story – the ideas behind the object,
the real thing. Copies of publications donated to Carrick Hill: Glasgow
Museums: Hands on - Learning from objects and paintings. A Teacher’s Guide
& Kelvingrove: Glasgow’s portal to the world.
JOHN PAUL : Interpretation, Project Manager, The Centre of New
Enlightenment, Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum. 20 June, 2008.
A specialist access program for young people 11-14yrs is based in the New
Enlightenment Centre. Using new technologies to track collection items in the
building, participants work with the use of PDAs for clues and directions. Four
values/themes underpin the program: Trust, Determination, Endurance &
Compassion, these valued teenage attributes were established through
research. This program has been successful in engaging with a notoriously
difficult group whose standard attitude is that museums are boring. A CD-ROM
is the promo/intro tool.
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Churchill Fellowship Report 2007
PATRICK ROUSH: Director of Exhibits, Seattle Children’s Museum, The Seattle
Centre, Seattle USA. 27 June, 2008.
A chance visit on the recommendation of the Seattle Children’s Theatre brought
me into contact with their Director of Exhibits. Central premise of the SCM
connected with my interest in Fraser Mustard’s (Canadian child development
specialist, Dr Mustard was Thinker-in-Residence in Adelaide in 2006) studies of
play in childhood which state that: play is the child’s main business and
exploring and discovering the world is essential to the development of the brain
and learning abilities required later on in the second decade of life. There is
high value in places that mothers and other family carers can take their young
children to explore and discover the physical world. At the Museum every
exhibit is interactive, which allows little hands and growing minds to explore,
play and learn. The environments are designed for children from birth through
to 10. Continuing contact with Patrick Roush will help in the design of future
LINDA-JO GREENBERG: Production Stage Manager & PA to Director, Seattle
Children’s Theatre, Thomas Street, Seattle USA. 27 June 2008.
One of the world’s leading children’s theatre companies with strong Adelaide
contacts through performance exchanges with Windmill Performing Arts
Company. Discussions revealed their work was only of tangential interest as
their performances are all auditorium based and they have little interest in
outdoor performances. Their commissioning process for scripts was a vital
aspect determining the consistent quality of productions and they derive
considerable income from running summer schools and workshops for young
people – all appealing ideas.
CORRINE STORTBOOM: Group Services PR, The Butchart Gardens, Victoria
BC, Canada. 1 July 2008.
The Butchart Gardens is a National Historic Site of Canada and its motto/tag is:
Over 100 years in Bloom. It is still a family business run by the descendants of
Jennie and Robert Butchart. My main purpose for visiting was to see how they
marketed their garden experience (I,000,000 visitors pa & open 365 days) and
to study the recycled limestone quarry now a vital part of the main attraction.
This potent brand mixing romantic, legendary woman garden maker and old
fashioned high horticulture blends heritage and garden arts to a high degree
and a successful business. Lessons learnt: plan any new initiatives with careful
investigation of the market you are selling into; get what you are going to do
right first time or the customers won’t come back for a second visit; do what you
do well because the public can tell if you are not. If you have a legend use it:
the Butchart story of Jennie and the gardens she created (Japanese, Quarry
and Rose garden) is still the phenomena and genius of the site that underpins
the visitors interest (USP). 30% of the goods sold in the vast retail area are
Canadian products and high season admission rate for adults is $26.50. There
are plans in progress to introduce a carousel (commissioned from a Californianmaker) and a children’s garden concept currently under wraps but looking at
the current challenge of: ‘kids of today know how to handle a keyboard but can’t
Richard Heathcote
Churchill Fellowship Report 2007
climb a tree’. Scale and infra structure challenges are similar to the Eden
Project (eg. upkeep requires a gardening staff of 50 in high season).
Anjuli Solanki, Intern – Education & Public Programs, UBC MOA, Vancouver, BC,
Canada. 2 July 2008.
The Museum of Anthropolgy at the University of BC was undergoing a Renewal
Project and part of this was to be an approach entitled Multi Versity of which my
main interest was the ‘open’ storage and providing access for all sorts of groups
from the community who had hither to not had exposure to the collections. A
case in point was the museum’s Asian based collections making up 40% of the
total. MOA BC has had an international reputation for its work on its First Nation
(Indian) collections and extending their work into other communities (eg. Asian
migration came with the gold rushes, recent Hong Kong migration and Punjab
people who came as indentured labour). Some of the ideas for open display
and learning were: The ‘Big Draw’ was a room in which large glazed specimen
drawers had been installed so that children and others could get very close to
the objects to examine their decoration and construction. Often the displays
were of utilitarian objects. The use of mobile Carts (similar to the Geffrye
Museum) of objects with a timeline (chronology, maps, photos) and story were
used with actual objects that children could handle whilst learning about the
spiritual, ceremonial or utilitarian use of what they were handling. A very
successful regularly run holiday project with High Schools: young people (1416yrs) were recruited and took part in a program and end up giving tours. This
helped breakdown some attitudinal barriers and set up new links into schools
attracting students through word of mouth etc. The Learning Circle area in the
museum was a presentation space that took a tradition of passing on
knowledge orally through group story telling and sharing knowledge gained.
No site visited was doing what Carrick Hill has achieved to date and no
particular site provided a clear model for the way forward but the following
observations and approaches are key results:
1. Family Friendly policy must be connected throughout the structure of an
organisation by thorough implementation strategies or the frontline troops do
not own the products or present them to the customer as an integral part of
the ‘offer’.
[So often my innocent enquiry for children’s facilities/activities at the entrance
Info desk would be met with a: ‘don’t know if we have anything in particular
for children’. This was after talking in the back rooms with the professionals
about what great work they were doing in this area!]
2. Market research by English National Trust reveals key divisions in parental
attitudes to being involved in activities with their children at sites. Therefore
programs must aim specifically to cater for the various attitudes or they will
fail to deliver good experiences.
Richard Heathcote
Churchill Fellowship Report 2007
3. Historic house interiors when considering how to make a ‘do touch’
experience in a ‘don’t touch’environment should consider establishing
specific handling collections of relevant objects to the house and its functions
and style. Tactile and visceral experiences are the most powerful for
[Buckinghamshire Museum achieved the most successful model with their
Tudor house interpretation and building archaeology displays. Interactive
models of the construction of arches, samples of the materials used in
building all set in the spaces of the 15th century house forming part of the
Added to this were other hands on learning experiences in the Roal Dahl
Gallery where his stories had been used to engage and then involve children
(junior primary). The displays were completely inter active and allowed
children to crawl, touch, climb, feel and smell the exhibits integrated into the
purpose designed story environments. A further refinement were the physics
science experiments the children could play with that were curriculum driven
exhibits attached to certain stories – a kind of learning by stealth approach
that Dahl would approved of. Dahls’ Writing Shed environment was
represented and written on a wall were his notes on what he felt constituted
the necessary factors for a good children’s tale include. Interpreters and
museum professionals wishing to engage children of primary age should
take note (see Appendix 3).]
4. Establishing a role for a ranger/wildlife officer for the care and interpretation of
the natural environment is a powerful tool in developing access and
engaging the young and their imaginations in the natural world. Integrating
disability access to trails can also be achieved in a low key way.
Wistlandpound Discovery Centre exemplifies this with their trails.
5. Playing in heritage places where the child’s senses are engaged and there is
an opportunity to be involved in an activity of a tactile nature are rewarding
for parents and children.
[A great lesson was learnt at Great Bircham Windmill: Simple tactile activities
(Making a piece of dough into something to be baked, clambering the seven
levels of the windmill & spotting the Miller’s plague (rubber rats with a sticker
for a prize) simply bring the site alive for children through exploration and
6. There are big pitfalls in projects that attract capital funds to construct and
commence operating facilities but later create huge demands on the
organisation to sustain the infrastructure and upkeep costs: small is beautiful
and often economic.
Richard Heathcote
Churchill Fellowship Report 2007
1. There needs to be greater recognition and promotion of museums and
heritage places that provide family friendly experiences. This might be
achieved by establishing an awards scheme along the lines of the English
Guardian Newspaper’s Kids in Museums Manifesto. (See Appendix 4).
2. Generational Strategy for audience building is vital if heritage sites are
continue as vibrant and inspirational places for the community and families in
particular – heritage peak bodies need to be made aware of how powerful
this policy could be in shaping audiences for the future.
3. Cultural Minister’s Council, Statistics Working Group, needs to be introduced
to the idea that family visits to heritage places are both culturally and
educationally of high value and essential for family life long learning and
children’s development.
Richard Heathcote
3 September 2008
Richard Heathcote
Churchill Fellowship Report 2007
Appendix 1
Disability friendly
Negative to families outside
Negative to families indoors
Nothing but inherent fun
Schools education program
Environmental experience
Historic experience for kids
Booklet avail. but charge
Paper or info sheet FOC
Indoor activity
Indoor Trail
Outdoor Activity
Outdoor Trail
Handling collections avail.
War Cabinet Rooms, London
Wicked Winchester Cathedral
Stourhead, Wiltshire NT
Durlston Castle, Gateway Project
Corfe Castle, Dorset NT
Jurrassic Coast – Studland walk
Dunster Castle, Devon NT
Tate St Ives, Cornwall
Eden Project, Cornwall
Heligan Gardens, Cornwall
Wistlandpound and Calvert Trust
Castle Drogo, Devon NT
Castel Henllyss, Pembrokeshire
Tenby, Pembrokeshire
National Botanic Gardens of
St Fagans Museum of Welsh
Trues Yard Museum, Kings Lynn
Bircham Windmill, Norfolk
Chateau Malmaison, Paris
Place des Voges
Parc de Bercy
Ann Frank Garden
Palais Royal, Paris
Hampton Court Palace HRP
Geffryes Museum Hackney
Docklands Museum London
Groombridge Enchanted Forest
Scotney Castle NT
Richard Heathcote
Churchill Fellowship Report 2007
Charleston Farmhouse and
Batemans NT
Cragside NT
Wallington NT
Housesteads Fort: English
Heritage Hadrians Wall NT
Brantwood House (Ruskin home)
Levenshall Gardens
Coniston Old Man
Hilltop Farm - Sawrey
Beatrix Potter Gallery Hawkeshead
Beatrix Potter Experience Windermere
Cumberland Pencil Museum
Kelvingrove Museum, Glasgow
Glasgow Botanic Gardens –
Children’s Garden
Lighthouse Centre
Quebec 400e Ephemeral
Le Potager de Visionnaires
Plains of Abraham
Seattle Children’s Museum
French Beach Regional Park
Butchart Gardens
Museum of Anthropology UBC
Van Dusen Botanic Gardens
Granville Island
Disability friendly
Negative to families outdoors
Buckinghamshire County
Museum & Roald Dahl Exhibit
Wisley, Royal Horticultural
Alnwick Castle Gardens,
Lindisfarne Castle NT
Nothing provided but inherent
Negative to families indoors
Other environmental
Schools education program
Historic experience for kids
Booklet avail. But charge
Handling collections
Paper or info sheet FOC
Indoor activity
Indoor Trail
Outdoor Activity
Outdoor Trail
Richard Heathcote
Churchill Fellowship Report 2007
visit date
8 May
Museum & Heritage Show
[email protected]
01905 724734
Earls Court, Olympia,
War Cabinet Rooms
[email protected]
020 7930 6961
Winchester Cathedral
[email protected]
Clive Steps
King Charles Street
London SW1A 2AQ
The Close,
Winchester, Hampshire SO23 9LS
8 May
9 May
Cheryl Byron,
Director Education
9 May
Stourhead Gardens
01929 439027
Bonvils Road, Worth Matravers, Swanage,
Dorset. BH19 3LS.
01929 481294
The Square, Corfe Castle, Wareham, Dorset
BH20 5EZ
[email protected]
01566 771930
South West Lakes Trust
Wistlandpound Reservoir,
near South Molton, Devon
St Ives Tate
[email protected]
01736 796226
Eden Project
[email protected]
01726 811911
Porthmeor Beach
St Ives
Cornwall TR26 1TG
Cornwall, PL24 2SG
Gardens of Heligan
[email protected]
(0)1726 845100
Cathy Lewis
Froghopper Design (Heritage
10 May
Lewis family
Corfe Castle
12 May
Tom Haynes Site
13 May
Jo Elworthy,
Director of
16 May
Stourhead Stourton, Warminster, Wiltshire
BA12 6QD
9 - 11 May
14-15 May
01962 857200
[email protected]
Pentewan, St.Austell,
Cornwall PL26 6EN
Dunster Castle
Nr Minehead, Somerset
19 May
(Cathy Lewis)
Dunster Castle National
[email protected]
20 May
Elaine Jones
Pembroke NCP
[email protected]
20 May
Rhonwen Owen,
Site Manager
Carew Castle and
Castell Henllys
Castell Henllys
Newport, Pembrokeshire
21 May
Elaine Jones
Tenby Town Trail
Pembrokeshire, Wales
01643 821 314
01646 624 855
(mob) 07866
PCNP Llanion Park, Pembroke Dock,
Pembroke, Wales SA172 6DY
Richard Heathcote
Churchill Fellowship Report 2007
visit date
22 May
Trevor Roach
National Botanic Garden of
[email protected]
Roy Thomas CEO
01558 668768
23 May
Elaine Jones
St Fagan’s Museum
The National Botanic Garden of Wales
Carmarthenshire SA32 8HG
St Fagan’s Open Air Museum
South Glamorgan
24 May
Paul Richards
True’s Yard
0844 482 7777
Historic Royal Palaces Apt 39A
Hampton Court Palace
Surrey KT8 9AU
Museum of London
150 London Wall
London EC2Y 5HN
Geffrye Museum Trust
Kingsland Road,
London, E2 8EA
25 May
Kings Lynn
[email protected]
Bircham Windmill
4 June
Suzie Batchelor,
Head of Education
Hampton Court Palace
Historic Royal Palaces
5 June
Rebecca White
Docklands Museum London
[email protected]
5 June
Alison Smith,
Education Officer
Geffreyes Museum
East London
[email protected]
020 7739 9893
6 June
Jill Todd,
Site Manager
[email protected]
01892 861444
Groombridge, Tunbridge Wells
Kent TN3 9QG
6 June
Matthew TylerJones, Anita
NT South East Region
Tunbridge Wells
Scotney Castle
Matthew mobile
0751 538 1039
off 0137
01323 811626
Polesden Lacey
Surrey RH5 6BD
0870 444 3852
7 June
7 June
01435 882302
Burwash, Etchingham,
East Sussex TN19 7DS
9 June
Buckingham County
Museum and Roald Dahl
Exhibit, Aylesbury
01494 892192
The Roald Dahl Museum & Story Centre 8183 High St
Great Missenden
Bucks HP16 0AL
Royal Horticultural Society,
Wisley, Surrey
10 June
Dr Ruth Taylor
[email protected]
Royal Horticultural Society,
Charleston, Firle, Lewes,
East Sussex, BN8 6LL.
Richard Heathcote
Churchill Fellowship Report 2007
12 June
Visit date
Alnwick Castle Gardens
[email protected]
01665 510777
01289 389244
12 June
Lindisfarne Castle
17 June
Old Man – Coniston
mountain trail
[email protected]
16 June
Lake District – Walks &
Family tourism
[email protected]
19 June
Cumberland Pencil Museum
Liz MacFarlane
Collections &
House Manager
015394 36269
Near Sawrey, Hawkshead, Ambleside,
Cumbria LA22 0LF
015394 46601
017687 73626
Lake District Visitor Centre
Cumbria LA23 1LJ
Southey Works,
Keswick, Cumbria, CA12 5NG
0141 276 9500
or 0141 276
0141 276 9599
418 648 8888
Kelvingrove Museum
[email protected]
“Ephemeral Gardens”
Plains of Abraham, Potager
des Visionnaires
Seattle Childrens’ Theatre
[email protected]
[email protected]
20 June
Mark O’Neill
Head of Arts &
23-25 June
Quebec 400
26 June
Linda Jo
Greenberg SCT
27 June
Patrick Roush,
Director of
The Childrens’ Museum,
The Butchart Gardens,
Vancouver Island
[email protected]
0250 6524422
1-2 July
Anjuli Solanki
Education &
Public Programs
Museum of Anthropology
University of British
[email protected]
3 July
Education &
Family programs
VanDusen Botanical Garden
[email protected]
30 June
Holy Island, Berwick-upon-Tweed,
Northumberland TD15 2SH
Coniston, Cumbria
Beatrice Potter trail & places
18 June
The Estate Offices Alnwick Castle
Alnwick Northumberland
NE66 1NQ
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
Argyle Street
Glasgow G3 8AG
Société du 400e anniversaire de Québec
1135 Grande Allée Ouest, suite 100
Québec City, Québec G1S 1E7
Seattle Centre,
Seattle, WA USA
305 Harrison Street
Seattle, WA 98109
The Butchart Gardens
800 Benvenuto Avenue
Brentwood Bay, BC V8M 1J8
Museum of Anthropology
University of British Columbia
6393 N.W. Marine Drive
Vancouver, B.C. V6T 1Z2
VanDusen Botanical Garden
5251 Oak Street (37th & Oak St.)
Vancouver, British Columbia
V6M 4H1
Richard Heathcote
Churchill Fellowship Report 2007
Appendix 3
Roald Dahl’s recipe for a good children’s tale:
Children love to be SPOOKED
They love SUSPENSE
They love ACTION
They love GHOSTS
Children love the finding of TREASURE
They love MAGIC
They love being made to GIGGLE
Children love a HERO and they love the hero to be a WINNER!
Roald Dahl (1916 – 1999)
from a display at the Buckinghamshire County Museum
Richard Heathcote
Churchill Fellowship Report 2007
Appendix 4
Guardian Newspaper, Saturday 6 September 2003
Richard Heathcote
Churchill Fellowship Report 2007