Project information

Local Heroes

Big Biographies for little known local heroes: learning about the inventors, engineers, designers and creative talent hidden in the history of local communities - and turning it into stories with interactive displays and workshops.

January 2016 - December 2017

Charity information: Science Alive

Science Alive logo
  • Need


    This is part of our work to raise interest in and awareness of STEM subjects - Science Techology Engineering & Maths - in everyday life.
    We aim to help people connect with the developments that have helped shape today and will shape tomorrow's world.


    We will develop materials, workshops, exhibitions and outreach work to bring Local Heroes to life - heroes such as Charles Kao, the only Nobel Prize winner to emerge in Harlow, Essex - one of the team who discovered the power of fibre-optic cable for communications work.
    In 2015, we set up the first of these exhibitions, focusing on John Collins, an amazing entrepreneur who established a Cycle MUSEUM on our site - from a collection formed from traded in bicycles at his family shop in Harlow!

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To promote STEM subject learning, by bringing learning to life


    » Local Heroes exhibition series at our Learning Gallery
    » Local Heroes workshops and mini-biography talk and lecture series
    » Local Heroes webspace, allowing new heroes to emerge from across the Eastern Region

    What success will look like

    Success will be...more people enjoying STEM activity, more people looking to work in the industries related to STEM, more people feeling confident that they are also inventive.

    Aim 2

    Living History: a programme to engage local people in local history interests


    » Living History Gallery: setting aside a space in the Museum as an interactive area which shows continuing local contributions to the history of Harlow
    » Whenever possible, we will create new publications, setting out the story of our Local Heroes - our first book on John Collins is now available.

    What success will look like

    Success will be seen in the increasing number of visitors and people engaging with our work at Harlow Museum - our overall contact numbers are already up to almost 30,000 per year

  • Impact


    We hope to contribute to regeneration and community confidence as well as being part of the Eastern Region's tourism and visitor centre economy for the next 25 years or so.


    Lack of resources:
    We have ensured that the project is scaleable, meaning that it can operate at different levels and develop over time with additional resources as they become available.


    Our webiste will carry regular updates on our work and on the Local Heroes project in particular.
    As donors register, they will become members of our support group TLC - The Learning Community - and they will then automatically receive bulletins, updates and privileges, involving them in our work.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £15,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £5,000 Living History Gallery Establishing an interactive space for Local Heroes
      £5,000 New Exhibitions & Publications Developing exhibits & activities
      £5,000 Outreach Taking workshops on the road to schools
  • Background


    Harlow, Essex is our home town - characterised by artworks, ingenuity and originality of design.
    We work with schools, families and older generation participants across the Eastern Region and into North and East London.
    We have developed two visitor centres in Harlow: the Time Machine Gallery and Harlow Museum.


    Harlow is a new town, working through a range of exciting regeneration programmes to bring new retail and commercial sector activity to the town.
    Around 1000 schools are within 60 minutes of Science Alive; 6m people live within easy reach of the gallery.
    The population is extremely varied, including pockets of significant deprivation alongside relative affluence.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    We are one of only 50 Science and Discovery centres in the UK and the only one within striking distance of central London and the Eastern Region, other than the national museums.
    We are unique in that we also operate the local Harlow Museum - giving us an amazing crossover between heritage and science/technology interests

    We have a good track record in community engagement, voluntary sector and partnership working.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Jon O'Connor

    CEO/Education programme advisor Developing programmes and ideas in partnership with schools, other educationists and community partners