Second Sandford Award for Bristol Museums

Bristol’s M Shed museum has been honoured with an award for the high quality of educational material, and immersive experiences on offer for visiting schoolchildren and schools within the city.

Bishop Grosseteste University and the Heritage Education Trust have again recognised the Bristol Museum’s Formal Learning Team as one of this year’s winners of the ‘Sandford Award for Heritage Education’.

The award, the second to be given to M Shed, recognises heritage sites and museums that are regarded as having high quality education programs, and it is independently judged. The award is given for five years and follows on from Bristol Museum & Art Gallery’s 2016 award, making M Shed one of two museums in the Bristol Museum group to hold the title.

Lead judge Susan Walker said of the museum:

“M Shed more than succeeds in its aim to make the learning experience of every child who visits accessible, immersive and memorable. The provision of good quality original and replica artefacts enables children to engage meaningfully with the past in an exciting and inspirational way.”

Further comments from judges highlight the friendly and welcoming attitudes of staff, the ease of booking workshops and the quality of artefacts on display.

Cllr Claire Hiscott, Cabinet Member for Skills and Education, said:

“I am delighted to see the Formal Learning Team recognised with this Sandford award, and that the M Shed has yet again been commended as being a venue of high quality educational programmes. It is a much deserved award for the team who work hard to provide inspiring and immersive experiences for children and young people who visit our museums, and it is a reflection of the astounding quality that we offer at our venues and sites across Bristol.”

Workshops hosted by M Shed offer schoolchildren from key stages 1 through 3 the opportunity to learn about the local history of the city through history in line with the national curriculum. The workshops on offer include Significant Bristol People, Bristol through Time, Ships and Sailors, Discover Chocolate, Bristol and the Transatlantic Slave Trade and workshops on Bristol’s role in both World War 1 and World War 2.

These education programmes, organised by the Formal Learning Team and sponsored by Clifton High School, along with the exhibitions and displays at Bristol Museums have welcomed visits from 96% of primary schools within Bristol and 86% of secondary schools in the last three years, with an aim to have contact with every school in Bristol by 2018.

The Discover Chocolate workshop is also available to local Brownie and Guide groups in order to obtain their Chocolate badge. Scout and Cub groups are also welcome to take part in the workshop.

As of September 2017 M Shed will also be offering in-school learning activities for schools within a 40 minute drive of the city. These learning activities include a Brilliant Bristolians assembly, in-school Archaeology Action, KS2 Anglo-Saxon workshops, and KS3 Transatlantic Slave Trade sessions in line with October 2017’s Black History Month.

Upcoming workshops and exhibitions include a Wildlife Safari of the Dockside photography session with a local professional photographer, and an Amazing Animals workshop with a conservationist. These events accompany the touring London Natural History Museum’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition.

M Shed’s Sandford Award recognises the board range of educational experiences on offer in Bristol, which is a UNESCO Learning City.

Full details of workshops and activities across Bristol Museums, along with guidance on how to book, can be found on the museum’s learning webpages at:

For latest information and special offers, teachers can also sign up to the museum’s termly Teachers’ Newsletter. For further information please email: or call the Museums Formal Learning Team at 0117 922 3571.