A seaside museum’s focus on the way we used to holiday has earned it a prestigious national award for education ranking it alongside the cream of the nation’s heritage.

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The Time and Tide Museum in Great Yarmouth has received the Sandford award, which recognises excellence in education across heritage sites.

Past recipients include Hampton Court Palace in London and Edinburgh Castle.

In Great Yarmouth a judge for the award savoured local history surrounded by the “not unpleasant” smell of fish seeping from the Victorian walls of the museum.

Just a generation ago the building was a working curing works at 
the hub of the herring industry but today staff help children to “time travel” from prehistoric times to the modern day. A school trip was observed by an Ofsted-style inspector, who gave the museum full marks across all six categories, looking at how well the children were engaged and inspired among other things.

On the day of the visit youngsters from St Nicholas Priory Junior School in Yarmouth were learning about seaside holidays, souvenirs and bathing machines and enjoyed dressing up, a coin-operated automaton, a worksheet and a Punch and Judy show.

Colin Stott, learning manager at the museum, said: “It is fantastic to receive this award and to have the recognition of the excellent services that our staff provide.

“Learning was central to the vision for the museum, which celebrates its tenth anniversary this year.

“The museum is always busy with schools and other groups visiting to find out about the fascinating 
history of the area.”

The museum is currently involved in two national projects; ‘Stories from the Sea’ which sees youngsters meet pirates, inventors and explorers to fire their writing imagination and the ‘Heritage Schools’ scheme, which has seen students create a touring exhibition to tell the story of Yarmouth and the Great War.

Kerry Robinson-Payne, chairman of the area museums committee, said: “I could not praise or congratulate the team highly enough. The Time and Tide is the jewel in the crown in Great Yarmouth.”

Have you got a heritage story? Email liz.coates@archant.co.uk

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