No.1 Royal Crescent and the Herschel Museum of Astronomy first museums in Bath to offer digital Bloomberg Connect guides

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No.1 Royal Crescent and the Herschel Museum of Astronomy first museums in Bath to offer digital Bloomberg Connect guides
Herschel Museum Music Room.

BATH.- Today, No.1 Royal Crescent and the Herschel Museum of Astronomy in Bath each launched a new digital guide on Bloomberg Connects, the free arts and cultural app created by Bloomberg Philanthropies. The museums are currently the only ones in Bath to offer guides on the app. The Bloomberg Connects app, available for download from Google Play or the App Store, makes No.1 Royal Crescent and the Herschel Museum of Astronomy accessible for onsite visits through photo, audio and video features. The museums also have devices that visitors can borrow to access these new guides.

At No. 1 Royal Crescent visitors can explore the history of the house and find out more about the rooms, interiors and collections, as well as how each room would have been used during the Georgian period. At the Herschel Museum of Astronomy visitors can find out more about how the Herschels lived in the house, and their work in science and music as well as exploring the collections and items belonging to William and Caroline at the time that the planet Uranus was discovered from the museum garden. Both of the museums’ guides also include sections just for children so that they can engage with the museums independently.

With some translated guides added, as well as built-in compatibility with Google Translate and screen readers, the museums’ content has become available for many more non-English speakers and those with access needs. An in-built map also provides navigation for museum visitors. Whether you are in the museum or sitting at home, you can explore the museums and collections and engage with its stories. There are also sections to support visitors coming to the museums, including pre-visit information and access guides. For more information and to take a deeper dive into the houses, collections and stories, app users can visit sections such as ‘Previous Exhibitions’ and ‘History of the House’.

Claire Dixon, Director of Museums for Bath Preservation Trust says: “At Bath Preservation Trust we practise a culture of continuous improvement, especially when it comes to the visitor experience as we know that people’s expectations and requirements are always changing. Our new guides with Bloomberg Connects will really enrich and enhance the experience in both museums, offering visitors extra content and information in an accessible easy guide that they can access from their own devices. By introducing this app we hope to further enrich every visitor’s experience in a way that is more inclusive and engaging, whilst boosting public interest and footfall via the support of the PR and advocacy of the Bloomberg group.”

The Bloomberg Connects app is a free digital guide to cultural organizations around the world that makes it easy to access and engage with arts and culture from mobile devices, anytime, anywhere. The app offers information about current exhibitions at a portfolio of over 210 participating cultural partners through dynamic content tailored to each organization. Participating collections currently include botanical gardens, performance venues, outdoor sculpture parks, and world-class museums. Features include expert commentary, video highlights, pinch-and-zoom capability and exhibition maps. The app can be downloaded for free via Google Play or the App Store. The app platform is part of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ longstanding commitment to supporting digital innovation in the arts. With dynamic content exclusive to each partner organization, the app provides a range of features including video, audio, and text; expert commentary; and way-finding maps.

No. 1 Royal Crescent is the first building at the eastern end of the Royal Crescent in Bath, Somerset, and is of national architectural and historic importance. It was built to the designs of John Wood the Younger in 1767 – 1774 and remains the epitome of Palladian architecture in Bath. Notable residents of No.1 Royal Crescent include Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany in 1776 (and forever immortalised in the rhyme The Grand Old Duke of York) and Henry Sandford, a retired Irish Member of Parliament, who became the first permanent resident, living at the house with his family from 1777 until his death in Bath in 1796. Today, No. 1 Royal Crescent is a historic house museum, with the rooms furnished with historic furniture, pictures and objects that reveal what life was like for Bath’s fashionable residents – both upstairs and downstairs in one of the great houses of 18th century Bath. It is owned and maintained by Bath Preservation Trust (BPT). In 1967, No. 1 was purchased in 1967 by Major Bernard Cayzer, who later donated the house to BPT, together with an endowment towards its restoration and furnishing. During 2012 and 2013 the Trust worked to re-unite No. 1 with its original servants' wing at No. 1A Royal Crescent, part of which had once been occupied by the Victorian literary critic George Saintsbury and which had been in use as an entirely separate dwelling since the 1960s. In 2021 No.1 launched an innovative, immersive experience that is designed to bring the house to life through a series of film and sound installations that give visitors a very real sense of what it would have been like to live in this very grand townhouse.

The Herschel Museum of Astronomy is located in 19 New King Street, the very place where William Herschel discovered the planet Uranus in March 1781. In doing so, he doubled the size of the known universe. What makes his achievement even more remarkable is that Herschel was a self-taught amateur astronomer, who built his own telescopes at home. Number 19 forms part of a terrace built around 1764. When the Herschels moved here for the first time in 1777, the modest townhouse (laid out over five floors) was typical of the houses of ‘the middling sort’ – i.e. artisans and tradesmen. It stands in contrast to the grand Georgian houses rented by visitors for the Bath season – such as No.1 The Royal Crescent (another historic house museum which, like the Herschel Museum of Astronomy, is run by the Bath Preservation Trust). Today, 19 New King Street is a Grade II* listed building and was purchased with the help of Doctors Leslie and Elizabeth Hilliard in 1981. The house has subsequently been fully restored, in the authentic style of the period. Dr Brian May (a member of the world-famous band Queen) is the Museum’s patron, who like William Herschel before him, is both a musician and an astronomer.

Bath Preservation Trust campaigns for and promotes the conservation, sustainable enhancement and celebration of the unique historic built environment and amenity, green setting and global contributions of the City of Bath. Bath is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the only entire city in the UK afforded World Heritage Status. The core principles of BPT are: informed advocacy, learning for all, and the provision of authentic heritage experiences at its four museums (No. 1 Royal Crescent, the Museum of Bath Architecture (currently closed), the Herschel Museum of Astronomy, and Beckford’s Tower (currently closed)), which focus on the architectural and historic importance of the city. BPT receives no statutory funding and is supported by visitor income, grants, legacies, donations and members who share a passion for the city and its environs.

Bloomberg Philanthropies invests in 700 cities and 150 countries around the world to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: the Arts, Education, Environment, Government Innovation, and Public Health. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s giving, including his foundation, corporate, and personal philanthropy as well as Bloomberg Associates, a pro bono consultancy that works in cities around the world. In 2022, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $1.7 billion.

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