Opening the doors to Humanist Heritage: virtual tour of Conway Hall launched for schools

17 April, 2024

Humanists UK has launched its groundbreaking interactive virtual tour for schools, created in partnership with Conway Hall Ethical Society and made possible by The National Lottery Heritage Fund. One of only two surviving buildings in the UK built by and for the non-religious, this virtual tour of London’s Conway Hall will enable young people to learn about humanism past and present like never before.

The virtual tour

Built by 3D virtual exhibition producers V21 Artspace, the virtual tour brings Conway Hall to life, featuring 360-degree panoramic views, high-definition imagery, and informative written and audio commentary. Annotations illuminate key features of the building and its collections, helping to tell the story of those who built, visited, or spoke at Conway Hall. Through a focus on three core spaces – the foyer, main hall, and library – learners are introduced to key features of the humanist approach, along with examples of the people who put these beliefs into practice.

Part of Humanist Heritage: Doers, Dreamers, Place Makers

The virtual tour has been designed to enable school pupils to ‘visit’ and learn about a humanist building as they might a religious place of worship – whether through a teacher-led trip, or self-guided exploration. The foyer, with its bust of abolitionist and suffragist Moncure Conway, explores the significance of ethics and community; the main hall, emblazoned with the Shakespearean ‘to thine own self be true’, focuses on the freedom of speech and of belief, and on taking action on issues that matter; and the library – home to the UK’s richest humanist research resource – emphasises how humanists strive to understand the world and share ideas.

Meet an array of humanists

As well as introducing Conway Hall’s own history and its mission today of ‘making ethics matter’, specially recorded videos allow learners to ‘meet’ contemporary humanists, who reflect on what humanism means to them, and what we can learn from looking back. The learning journey is supported by a teachers’ guide, with suggested activities for the classroom, as well as a collection of stories about historic humanists written by Isabelle King. Like Humanist Heritage’s earlier resource, Think for Yourself, Act for Everyone, these tales introduce a range of figures – from E.M. Forster and Bertrand Russell to Rose Bush and Eslanda Robeson – and have been illustrated by Tonka Uzu.

Made possible through the generous support of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, it is hoped that the virtual tour will enable many hundreds of people to experience Conway Hall for the first time, as well as offering a new experience for even seasoned visitors. While this version of the virtual tour has been created with schools in mind, a general audience tour will launch later in the year.

Luke Donnellan, Director of Understanding Humanism at Humanists UK, said:

‘We often hear from school teachers looking for ideas for ways to bring humanism to life in the classroom. This fantastic new virtual tour of Conway Hall provides a means of investigating the humanist worldview and its history. Taking an interactive journey, students will explore the people, objects, and events that helped to shape humanism and its impact on the modern world.’

Glenys Adelusi, Conway Hall’s Programme Manager, said:

‘Conway Hall’s story is made possible by its history of emboldening radical thinkers, ideas and aspirations for social change which transcend the realm of our building. What better way to continue this legacy than to equip young minds in navigating conversations on the significant contributions of humanists over the years, and their methods in exploring the world we live in today, through this interactive tour.

‘It is our hope that this tour not only provides a stimulating and accessible learning resource for wider discussion on humanism and ethics at large, but inspires and memorialises new perspectives on Conway Hall’s rich history.

The interactive virtual tour is now available to access free of charge. Go to Understanding Humanism to discover the tour and make use of its accompanying resources.


For further comment or information, media should contact Humanist Heritage Coordinator Madeleine Goodall at

Visit the Humanist Heritage website.

About Humanists UK

Humanists UK is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people. Powered by 100,000 members and supporters, we advance free thinking and promote humanism to create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail. We provide ceremonies, pastoral care, education, and support services benefitting over a million people every year and our campaigns advance humanist thinking on ethical issues, human rights, and equal treatment for all.

About Understanding Humanism

Understanding Humanism is Humanists UK’s education service. It aims to introduce young people to humanism as a non-religious approach to life which can be studied as an example of a ‘non-religious worldview’. It provides teachers with the resources necessary to teach accurate, high-quality lessons about humanism, and assists them with the development of their own subject knowledge. The Understanding Humanism website offers information and activities, as well as free school speakers who can work with teachers to broaden students’ understanding. Visit Understanding Humanism at

About Conway Hall

Conway Hall, opened in 1929, is home to Conway Hall Ethical Society, an independent charity founded c.1793 and believed to be the oldest surviving freethought organisation in the world. Our Library and Archives hold the largest and most comprehensive humanist research resource in the UK. We are a centre for culture, hosting talks, concerts, performances, and community events, as well as our learning and partnership activities. We curate, support and facilitate people and ideas that Make Ethics Matter in the world.

About The National Lottery Heritage Fund

Using money raised by the National Lottery, we inspire, lead and resource the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future.

Follow @HeritageFundUK on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #NationalLotteryHeritageFund

Since The National Lottery began in 1994, National Lottery players have raised over £46 billion for projects and more than 670,000 grants have been awarded across the UK – the equivalent of more than 240 lottery grants in every UK postcode district. More than £30 million raised each week goes to good causes across the UK.