Electrifying the country house: taking stories of innovation to new audiences

Michael Kay, Abigail Harrison Moore, Graeme Gooday


Could country house museums be indispensable sites for learning about both science as well as history? Given current logistical constraints, would it be worthwhile for school teachers to arrange student visits to such places to learn about STEM subjects? At first sight such epitomes of British heritage do not appear to offer much to such audiences. However, recent research shows that some country houses were once key sites of technological innovation, especially in the Victorian invention of electric lighting. Our collaborative work with staff at Cragside, Lotherton Hall and Standen demonstrates their capacity and enthusiasm to use such insights to present more STEM-related content to visitors within the context of their existing historical offers. Drawing on the results of an AHRC-funded impact and engagement project, we show how co-produced stories of household electrification can supply fresh inter-disciplinary ways of engaging STEM audiences with the historic country house. 


country house; STEM; electricity; learning; heritage

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.29311/mas.v17i1.2690

Copyright (c) 2019 Graeme Gooday, Michael Kay, Abigail Harrison Moore

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Museum and Society

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