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The second Hertfordshire Association of Museums Awards were held in the atmospheric School hall of the British Schools Museum in Hitchin on Friday 6th December. The awards celebrated some of the outstanding museum projects that took place across the county last year.

The event was a great opportunity for staff, volunteers and other stakeholders to network, discuss plans, projects and priorities to celebrate the great work that museums do in communities over refreshments. There was an opportunity for all the attendees to hear about the Hertfordshire Year of Culture 2020 and meet YOCI, the Year of Culture mascot.

The awards were judged by 5 independent judges recruited from the national museums sector. They commented on the high standard of many of the entries and the excellent range of projects that highlighted the quality and quantity of activities taking place in Hertfordshire’s museums and described the projects nominated as innovative, ambitious, fantastic, significant, rewarding and valuable.

Nominees and Winners

The Hertfordshire Association of Museums Inclusion Award

This award recognises the significant efforts that museums have put into increasing the accessibility and inclusivity of Hertfordshire’s heritage for the widest possible audiences.

The nominees for the Inclusion award were:

British Schools Museum for British Ghouls Museum, a museum hire package encouraging ‘Paranormal Investigators’ to visit the museum and search for evidence of otherworldly goings on.

The Dacorum Heritage Trust - Raising Awareness of Dyslexia in Museums, a toolkit to help museums increase accessibility for visitors with dyslexia, including help understand dyslexia, case studies to demonstrate simple changes museums could make and an accessibility checklist.

Hertford Museum for Reminiscence Outreach, a series of offsite multi-sensory reminiscence sessions for hard to reach community groups.

The Natural History Museum at Tring for Access for Everyone, a multi-dimensional approach to SEND provision that included new specialist workshops, early opening for children with ASD and Makaton training for staff delivering workshops and events.

Winner - The Dacorum Heritage Trust for Raising Awareness of Dyslexia in Museums

 DHT Inclusion

The Hertfordshire Association of Museums Wellbeing Award

This award recognises the significant efforts that our museums have put into increasing the wellbeing of Hertfordshire’s communities.          

The nominees for the Wellbeing award were:

British Schools Museum for the EMERGE Men’s Group, a project instigated by a volunteer trained in counselling offering a safe space for men to meet and voice their concerns, worries and emotions.

Garden City Collection for Sharing Memories, a new reminiscence programme to improve the wellbeing of older people by encouraging sociability by using images and objects to trigger memories and stimulate conversation.

Winner - Garden City Collection for Sharing Memories

 GCC Wellbeing

The Hertfordshire Association of Museums Project of the Year Award      

This award celebrates projects that have made a significant difference to a museum or the community it serves. It’s an award for a project that merits special recognition but might not fit into our other award categories.

The nominees for the Project of the Year award were:

British Schools Museums for Noel’s Countdown to Christmas, this advent calendar, inspired by a 100-year-old Christmas list from Noel Farris a pupil at the British school, was designed by volunteers and popular with general visitors and with schools for use as a learning resource.

Dacorum Heritage Trust for Peacetime in Dacorum, a year of commemorative events culminating in an exhibition featuring canvasses created by children and an art installation made with 1,089 origami doves folded by members of the community, representing fallen soldiers. The exhibition attracted a record breaking 6,920 visitors.

Much Hadham Forge Museum for Much Hadham Scouts Remembrance Poppy project, a series of workshops with the Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and the wider community to make ceramic poppies, in Remembrance of The Fallen from Much Hadham, to be “planted” at the village war memorial for the Remembrance Day service.

University of Hertfordshire Arts for ‘Barbara Hepworth: artist in society 1948-53’ a unique exhibition of sculptures and drawings by renowned British artist Barbara Hepworth, developed with Hepworth’s granddaughter and produced in collaboration with the St Albans Museum + Gallery.

Winner - Much Hadham Forge Museum for Much Hadham Scouts Remembrance Poppy project.


The Hertfordshire Association of Museums Heritage Hero Award

Everyone involved in our museums has a part to play to contribute to their success and ongoing development and this award recognises an exceptional contribution to a museum by an individual or a team of people.

The nominees for the Heritage Hero Year award were:

Dr Julia Winder nominated by the British Schools Museum

Julia has been part of the volunteering team at British Schools Museum for 8 years and her continuous contribution has been invaluable. She duty manages the museum for one day every week, runs a cake and craft stalls, writes and submits grant funding applications, delivers a monthly historic walk around Hitchin and is the museums groups coordinator, organising staffing, catering and a programme for all group visits. She is a model volunteer- dedicated, hard-working, enthusiastic, forward-thinking and truly inspirational.

The Learning Holiday Team nominated by Hertford Museum

This year Hertford Museum’s team of 11 learning volunteers, aged 17-77, supported a Summer Holiday Activity programme by staffing 16 days of craft activities over 5 weeks, including an Autism Friendly session. They have worked with over 300 children during a uniquely busy time of year providing an exceptional service to visitors.

Mr David Spooner nominated by Lowewood Museum

During the National Heritage Lottery funded project ‘Lowewood: We Will Remember Them’ David curated a mini touring exhibition of WWI artefacts, photographed WWI items brought in by members of the public, put together a book of local men who served in the First World War and spent days and days visiting churches to photograph all the WWI memorials in the district. Without David this project could not have happened thanks to his efforts, Lowewood has been able to create a number of valuable heritage resources which will benefit the local community and wider public for years to come.

Winner - Dr Julia Winder nominated by the British Schools Museum


The Hertfordshire Association of Museums Transformation Award           

This award celebrates a new initiative, project or way of working that has transformed the way a museum works and has made a big difference.

The nominees for the Transformation award were:

British Schools Museum for A Hitchin Hero Remembered, a special temporary exhibition telling the story of Frank Young, a Hitchin resident and Hertfordshire’s only WWI recipient of the Victoria Cross. The display of medals necessitated greater security; new windows, exhibition cabinets, alarms and locks and extra training for volunteers who performed security duties while also engaging the public with additional information about the exhibition.

North Herts Museum for North Herts Museum. Following the completion of a new entrance and shop North Hertfordshire Museum opened to the general public this year. The new museum covers the whole NHDC district so at last visitors from the many villages can see part of their heritage on display.

Winner - North Herts Museum for North Herts Museum

 NHM - Transformation

The Hertfordshire Association of Museums Object of The Year Award

Awarded through a public vote this award celebrates museum objects which capture the public’s imagination.  This award is a chance for museums to highlight the best of their collections, perhaps a ‘signature object’ or new acquisition and as a result promote themselves to a new audience. This year over 1600 people voted for their favourite object.

The nominees for the Transformation award were:

British Schools Museum - Martha Stapleton’s Map Sampler

Garden City Collection - A Toilet Roll from E E Russell

Hertford Museum - Samurai Armour

Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies - The ‘Red Book’ of Panshanger by Humphry Repton

Much Hadham Forge Museum - The Doll Crest

North Hertfordshire Museum for - The Offley Fire Engine

Royston & District Museum and Art Gallery - The Royston Tapestry

The Dacorum Heritage Trust - A Stanhope Pipe

The Natural History Museum at Tring – An Emperor Penguin

Verulamium Museum (St Albans Museums Service) – The Shell Mosaic

Welwyn Hatfield Museum Service – A Cresta Cocktail Dress

Winner - Garden City Collection for A Toilet Roll from E E Russell


Toilet roll 720x478