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Museum Shortlisted for Top Awards

Staff at Woodhorn Museum just outside Ashington, are thrilled to have heard this week that the museum has been shortlisted for awards in two categories of the prestigious Museums + Heritage Awards for Excellence 2015.

Up against hundreds of well-known and highly respected museums from across the UK, Woodhorn has made it to the last five in the categories for Project on a Limited Budget with its Stand up for Woodhorn: Making a Case for Comedy in Museums project, and in best Marketing Campaign with Retronaut.

The shortlists are as follows:

Project on a Limited Budget consists of:
• Victoria & Albert Museum: Architectural Drawing – Families Activity
• Black Country Museum: WW1 Greengrocers
• Southend Museums Service: The London Shipwreck Project
• Barker Langham on behalf of Drapers’ Company: Root & Branch- 650 Years of the Drapers’ Company
• Woodhorn Museum: Stand up for Woodhorn: Making a Case for Comedy in Museums

The Marketing Campaign includes:
• The Natural History Museum: Britain: One Million Years of the Human Story
• Imperial War Museum: First World War Galleries
• National Maritime Museum: Ships, Clocks and Stars
• Oxford University Museum of Natural History: Goes to Town
• Luton Culture: Museums Makers
• Woodhorn: Retronaut

With the Stand Up for Comedy project, Woodhorn commissioned a Comedian in Residence to explore the part comedy can play in facilitating meaningful connections between people and their heritage, art and environment. Long-standing North East professional Seymour Mace, was engaged to host ‘meet the comedian’ sessions where visitors could share, record and celebrate their favourite stories. Fun sessions with museum staff resulted in new material some of which was transformed into comedy tours around Woodhorn’s historic site and enjoyed by visitors at the 150th anniversary Northumberland Miners’ Picnic in June 2014.

The Retronaut project engaged guest curator Chris Wild (aka the Retronaut) to combine the strengths of Northumberland Archives’ unique content with his digital expertise and existing reach to engage audiences around the world. Carefully selecting images for the project, the intention was to piggy-back the on-line trend for selfies whilst at the same time challenging the ‘mental narrative’ that many people have of Victorians as stuffy and overly formal. The funny-faced Victorian images received a staggering 4.5 million impressions, a reach of 3.5 million and 48,000 engagements once on the web. They featured on 182 primary websites and 907 secondary websites in over 30 different countries from the USA to Iran and the Advertising Value Equivalent for this reach during the launch period alone was calculated at £157,000.

Woodhorn Director Keith Merrin said, “Being shortlisted for these awards alongside venues of international standing is a huge achievement, and we are thrilled to reach this stage. It recognises that the standard and creativity of work we do here at Woodhorn is on a par with the very best museums and galleries right across the country.”

The results will be announced at a glittering ceremony in London at the end of April when comedian Marcus Brigstocke will present the 2015 Museums + Heritage Awards for Excellence.

ENDS