The Attingham Trust
What is The Attingham Trust?
The Attingham Trust is an educational charitable trust. It offers specialised study courses for those who are professionally engaged in the study, care and interpretation of historic houses and palaces and their collections and garden and landscape settings, whether they work in the museum, university, historic house, or conservation sector.
Who set it up?
The first Attingham Summer School was set up in 1952 to offer American curators the opportunity to become acquainted with the realities and complexities of British country houses. Many of them had country house material in their museums. The school’s founders were Helen Lowenthal, founder of the Education Department at the Victoria and Albert Museum, and Sir George Trevelyan, a pioneer of the adult education movement and Warden of Attingham Park, Shropshire. A Summer School has been organised every year since that date and its alumni base has expanded internationally. Helena Hayward, Dr Geoffrey Beard, Annabel Westman, Lisa White and Giles Waterfield are among the notable scholars to have directed the Summer School.
What courses does the Trust provide?
Three residential summer programmes are organised by the Trust each year.
Two non-residential courses are also offered:
What do the courses offer?
The courses offer a unique opportunity to examine the history, architecture and contents of historic buildings and their gardens and estates, and to study how they are managed and interpreted by a wide variety of owners, both public and private. Academic excellence is delivered through special access, lectures, discussion, and on-site tuition which provides a comprehensive understanding of a wide range of disciplines.
All the courses, except for The Attingham Study Programme, can only be attended once.
Why the name?
Founded in 1952 as The Attingham Summer School Trust it was named after the great neo-Classical house in Shropshire in which the Summer School was first held. It works in close collaboration with the American Friends of Attingham established in New York in 1962.
Does the Trust operate on its own?
The Trust is a self-supporting organisation with its own boards in Britain and the United States. It collaborates with a number of heritage institutions and museums, including the National Trust, English Heritage, Historic England, the Royal Collection Trust, Historic Royal Palaces and the Victoria and Albert Museum. Members of the staff of these organisations customarily attend the courses and are involved in teaching.
How are the Courses publicised?
The courses are advertised in the relevant specialist press and through an extensive mailing list. From the considerable number of applicants from many countries, participants are chosen with an architectural, historical, conservation or academic background, or a close involvement with the fine and decorative arts. Whilst historically many of the participants have come from the United States, the programmes are now attended by a growing number of scholars and experts from Europe and Australia, and in recent years also from India, China and South America.
Does the Trust offer scholarships?
The Attingham Trust is a non profit-making organisation. From its own funds and from donations made by a number of trusts, foundations, and private individuals, the Trust offers scholarships and aims to ensure that nobody who deserves a place is prevented from attending for financial reasons.
The Attingham Trust
70 Cowcross Street
London EC1M 6EJ
TEL: +44 (0) 20 7253 9057
Registered as an Educational Charitable Trust: no. 262819
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