Coveted prize for two Dundee heritage sites

Dundee’s Verdant Works and Discovery Point – two of Scotland’s favourite visitor attractions – have won the coveted Sandford Award.

Independently judged, the Sandford Award is a stamp of approval for education at a heritage site. It recognises the hands-on learning, workshops and facilities at Verdant Works and RRS Discovery, which both make social history a large part of the visitor experience.

Both venues are run by Dundee Heritage Trust, an independent registered charity dedicated to preserving and portraying the city’s heritage for current and future generations. The Trust has clocked up numerous awards for the top visitor attractions.

The judges said of Discovery Point, the waterfront location which hosts the historic ship RRS Discovery: ‘Discovery Point and RRS Discovery offer a rich environment for learning. Evocative tours of the historic ship combined with lively, hands-on workshops provide an enjoyable learning experience.’

The judges described the Verdant Works experience, located at a former jute mill turned social history museum, as a ‘world class in an atmospheric setting.’

Discovery Point recently underwent an extensive refurbishment of its galleries and education space, as part of a £500,000 revamp.

Ali Gellatly, education officer with Dundee Heritage Trust, said: ‘This is the fourth time Verdant Works and Discovery Point have received the Sandford Award, which are given every five years. I’m very proud to have been a part of developing the educational offering at both sites.

‘These awards are endorsements of the hard work which goes into making sure our visitors learn as much as they can about Dundee and its links to the industries of shipping and jute.’
The awards ceremony will take place in November.

Formed in 1985 to preserve and interpret Dundee’s Heritage, Dundee Heritage Trust is an independent registered charity dedicated to the guardianship, preservation and portrayal of Dundee’s Heritage in ways that educate, inspire and enlighten current and future generations.

As well as the internationally significant Royal Research Ship Discovery, Dundee Heritage Trust has responsibility for Discovery Point Antarctic Museum plus Verdant Works, one of the nation’s most important textile museums.
Both sites are accredited museums with collections of national significance, five star rated attractions with VisitScotland and have won numerous awards.

The Sandford Award is an independently judged, quality assured assessment of education programmes at heritage sites, museums, archives and collections across the British Isles. Over 500 sites – including historic houses, museums, galleries, places of worship, gardens, landscapes and collections – have received an Award since the scheme began in 1978.

The Trust has recently completed a series of further enhancements at Discovery Point which included upgrades to the visitor experience and its conferencing and events facilities. This was part funded by the Coastal Communities Fund and Dundee City Council and cost approximately £500,000.

Verdant Works recently won an international award for architecture after a stunning transformation that took it from a dilapidated building to a leading museum, visitor attraction and venue. The Open Gallery at High Mill, part of the restored Verdant Works, was recognised in the conservation category of the 2018 Civic Trust Awards for its outstanding architecture, planning and design.