NMI Country Life wins Sandford Award.

21 Nov 2019

The National Museum of Ireland - Country Life at Turlough Park, Castlebar, has won a prestigious Sandford Award for excellence in heritage education.

Administered by the Heritage Education Trust and Bishop Grosseteste University, Lincoln, the awards assess the education programmes at historic houses, museums, galleries and gardens across the UK and Ireland, recognising the highest standards in heritage education.

The National Museum of Ireland - Country Life joins 41 other leading museums and sites, such as the V&A Museum, Bletchley Park and Windsor Castle, in the list of 2019 award winners.

A judging team from the Sandford Awards visited the National Museum of Ireland - Country Life in May 2019.

In their citation, the judges described the museum’s education and learning team as ‘skilled and dedicated’.

“The site and collections offer superb opportunities for learning, combining buildings, landscapes, objects and intangible heritage,” said the judge’s report.

“Schools and general visitors alike will leave inspired by the sensitive and responsive way in which their national heritage is being conserved and presented.”

The judge’s report also praised the museum’s good practice in heritage learning; bi-lingual educational resources; dedicated learning spaces and children’s areas, and community engagement programmes.

Dr. Audrey Whitty, Head of Collections and Learning, National Museum of Ireland, welcomed the award, stating: “We are delighted to once again achieve this prestigious quality mark, which is welcome recognition for the museum’s Education and Learning team and programmes.

“We are continuously developing and delivering a wide range of engaging, fun and educational activities for all ages.

"Our heritage education programmes focus on finding new and creative ways to share, interpret and celebrate Ireland’s National Folklife Collection and the Sandford Award judges have given us a ringing endorsement for the work we are doing in this regard.”

The National Museum of Ireland - Country Life won its first Sandford Award in 2004 and has retained the accolade continuously over the past 15 years.

The museum’s Education and Learning Department offers a full programme of free tours, workshops and activities for primary and post primary schools, as well as a year-round, programme of public events, including talks, tours, workshops and demonstrations.

These programmes are delivered across the NMI’s four sites in Dublin and in Mayo.

For further information on upcoming events at the National Museum of Ireland, including the schools programme, visit