Gilbert White & Oates Museum

  • Antarctic Learning Programme 
  • Grant Awarded: £45,000 (over three years)
  • Board approved: October 2015 

As part of their project Towards Sustainability – Inspiring Voyages of Discovery in the Natural World, they will create a new learning programme designed to reach new audiences.  A major part of this programme will be based upon their Captain Oates exhibition (re-presented in 2012 with support from the UKAHT), upon their Field Studies Centre and estate, and upon their Antarctic book collection.   UKAHT will support this learning programme, including new staff costs for the first three years.  UKAHT will also support the conservation and relocation of their important Antarctic book collection to new quarters where full public access can be offered for the first time and where they will act as a resource for learning.   

The project fulfils UKAHT’s goal to ‘inspire people to pursue a lifelong engagement with the legacy of the pioneers of British Antarctic science and exploration. 

Gilbert White & Oates Museum: Outline Report

The UK Antarctic Heritage Trust grant covers the creation of a new learning programme around our Antarctic collection which will enable us to reach larger and more diverse audiences, including children. This is linked to our larger project: Towards Sustainability – Inspiring Journeys of Discovery in the Natural World funded in part by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Our round 2 application to cover delivery was submitted to the HLF on 30 November 2015 with a decision due in March 2016, when we should also know the outcome of our planning application.

We propose to use some of the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust grant towards resources for the learning programme and two new members of staff: a Learning & Participation (Collections) Manager and a Learning & Participation Education Assistant. They will work closely with our Collection and Education teams to design our Antarctic education programme making full use of our current collections and developing imaginative and stimulating learning and participation activites and workshops.

We also wish to digitise the Aurora Australis and our collection of original letters from Lawrence Oates along with other elements of our Antarctic collection and purchase iPads to view them. This will allow us to bring a stronger art and literacy element to our Antarctic offer. Pupils will be able to access, enjoy and respond to these very important artefacts in a way that is impossible in their current fragile state. Digitisation will also allow their use in outreach to schools and groups, such as care homes. 

The project will begin as soon as our round 2 HLF grant is confirmed and it is hoped that the recruitment of the new staff member will begin in April with a proposed start date in June 2016. We are currently researching digitisation services and costs.

We are very grateful to UK Antarctic Heritage Trust for their support and look forward to sharing further details of our exciting programme as it progresses.


As part of the museum’s project ‘Towards Sustainability – Inspiring Voyages of Discovery in the Natural World’, they are creating a new learning programme designed to reach new audiences. A major part of this programme will be based upon their Captain Oates exhibition (re-presented in 2012 with support from the UKAHT), upon their Field Studies Centre and estate, and upon their Antarctic book collection.

The Gilbert White and Oates Museum promote understanding of the environment and their heritage by inspiring, informing, enthusing and educating the public about Gilbert White and the Oates family. In particular their contribution to natural history, observation and recording is promoted through the presentation, interpretation and preservation of their historic collections.

Key members of the learning and participation team were appointed in the summer and the museum have forged valuable links with external partners including the Hampshire Scouts who are embarking on a Polar Expedition in October 2018 and the Home Education Network.

Gilbert White’s activity plan which underpins delivery of their programme includes many Antarctic themed activities for families and adult learners and indeed the theme continues in this years’ Museum Takeover Day’. They are also using Antarctic tents for children’s activities and sleepovers and will create Antarctic themed collections boxes which can be used in their outreach programme.


We support UK and overseas polar institutions and individuals with grant aid towards outreach and education projects that fulfil the mission of the Trust.

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Press Enquiries

We are very keen to promote the important heritage work that we do, telling the story of life in Antarctica both past and present. If you are interested in running a story about us, using our images or films or want to discuss an interview or potential collaboration opportunity we would love to hear from you.  Please contact either Sarah or Lewis at Limewash to discuss your requirements or +44 (0)1223 813 557.