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Learning and Discovery at Historic Houses

A partnership project between the HHA and English Heritage funded by the
Heritage Lottery Fund

With funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund,  the HHA appointed two Education Officers in the South East and North West of England for a one year project.  Michael Newman-Horwell and Karl Creaser took up their posts in 2004 and, together with English Heritage’s ground breaking education team, helped independent owners to develop educational services for a wide range of new audiences.   
Historic House Education saw the development of  a number of pilot studies involving a variety of property types and a range of different types of education topics. The aim of the studies was to develop models which could be applied to other HHA houses and a key part of the project has been a planned programme of dissemination to enable initiatives to be transferred to other properties. The pilot projects included provision for those in formal education - that is for teachers, tutors, pupils and students - but also looked at developing family-friendly provision, physical and intellectual access and staff development.


The aim of the project has been to:

  • Build, develop and share skills and expertise among HHA Members and other heritage and education partners.
  • Increase awareness and knowledge of opportunities among HHA Members for both formal and informal learning.
  • Disseminate good practice, case studies, education models, knowledge of funding opportunities,   
  • Ultimately, to develop sustainable educational projects which will reach out to new and diverse audiences, particularly those groups who have traditionally not experienced this part of our heritage before.
The HHA and English Heritage has produced an advisory manual for owners, managers and staff and others interested in historic house education. It contains details of each project, what it set out to achieve, the work that was carried out and what was learnt from each activity.   HHA Members can view this on the Members' website.            

Owners and managers at each of the participating properties also now have a wealth of material, and individual knowledge and expertise about their projects. They are a further resource for other house staff wishing to develop their own service and can act as mentors to other properties. A further detailed archive of material is held centrally by the HHA.

A series of seminars have been held in 2004 and 2005 to disseminate the findings of the project and look ahead to the future development of the scheme.  At the most recent seminars, in July 2005 in Yorkshire and Dorset ,the HHA and English Heritage also welcomed partner organisations, including the National Trust, Heritage Lottery Fund and the Heritage Education Trust to explore ways in which heritage organisations can work together to develop a learning network.

The HHA has published an advisory paper for Members, in association with the Heritage Lottery Fund, to support the HLF's recent policy decision to allow private owners to benefit from Lottery funds for "projects that increase public access to and learning about heritage in private ownership". The HHA has also produced information on accessing other funding sources for education projects in early 2004. These can be downloaded from the Members' website