Local Heroes science scheme awards grants to 15 UK museums and galleries - Museums Association

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Local Heroes science scheme awards grants to 15 UK museums and galleries

Institutions will receive funding of up to £3,000 each
Laura Rutkowski
The Royal Society has selected 15 Accredited museums and galleries from across the UK to receive funding of up to £3,000 for exhibitions and events that celebrate local science heroes and their discoveries.

The Local Heroes scheme aims to engage the public with science and highlight the influence that scientists have had on local communities. The successful projects demonstrate how a variety of figures over the years have contributed to the field of science.

Among the successful grantees is the McLean Museum and Art Gallery in Greenock, Scotland, which will focus on James Watt (1736 – 1819), an inventor and engineer known for the pivotal role he played in the industrial revolution by improving the steam engine.

Watt also invented machines for copying 3D sculptures and medallions, which the McLean Museum will expand on by displaying modern 3D printing techniques in the exhibition.

Inverclyde Council’s Education and Communities convener, councillor Terry Loughran, said: “James Watt was one of the world’s most industrious and inventive people who embraced and shaped the technology of his day."

"If he had access to the technology of today, it is incredible to imagine what he could have achieved. I am sure he would have enthusiastically approved of this fascinating project, which will see his work brought to life by our young people using the very latest 3D printing technology."

In County Antrim, Northern Ireland, Ballymoney Museum will pay homage to Andre Claude de la Crommelin (1865 – 1939) in The Comet Man. An avid studier of Halley’s Comet, de la Crommelin predicted its return in 1910 with almost complete accuracy.

Members of the public will be able to join in on stargazing events and experience astronomy in new ways at the museum. 

The oldest independent museum in Wales, Tenby Museum & Art Gallery in Pembrokeshire, will host an exhibition on William Lyons (1766 – 1849), who put together a seminal shell collection, including two species that were named after him.

For the project, volunteers will work with the community and local schools to research and bring the life and work of Lyons to light.

Museum trustee Kathy Talbot said: “The Tenby Museum & Art Gallery is delighted to be selected for the Royal Society Local Heroes award."

"As an independent charity we often struggle to fund work such as this, which will celebrate people like William Lyons, whose collection of shells formed the basis of the museum’s collections when it was established in 1878.”

Focusing on contemporary science, the exhibition Dean R. Lomax – Making Dreams Reality at Doncaster Museum & Art Gallery will celebrate the achievements of 26-year-old Dean Lomax, a palaeontogist and honorary scientist at the University of Manchester.

Events such as a children’s fossil hunt with Lomax are being planned to showcase the potential for a future career in science.

Lomax said: "I always wanted to be a palaeontologist, but I was told it would be impossible, especially for somebody from Doncaster. Now, having worked professionally for nine years, I've become an internationally recognised scientist."

"It is my hope that this event will help local children and adults to realise their dream, and show that it is possible to achieve great things, regardless of where you are from."

The chairman of the judging panel, Jonathan Ashmore, a neuroscientist at University College London said: “The Royal Society Local Heroes scheme is a fantastic nationwide celebration of past and present scientists and their influential achievements right across the UK.


“The UK has a rich and diverse history of science which provides important routes for modern day society to deepen its understanding of the modern world.”

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