The volunteers of the Blaenavon Community Museum have been awarded the Marsh Volunteers for Museum Learning Award for both Wales and the U.K. The team was presented with the prestigious awards at the British Museum at a special event held on 26 September attended by representatives from museums across the country.
The awards are run in partnership between the Marsh Christian Trust and the British Museum and recgnise best practice and the most innovative ways in which volunteers engage the public with collections. The national UK award is presented where a tangible difference to the public offer has been made in a museum and where a unique dimension to that offer has been introduced.
On presenting the national award to the Blaenavon Community Museum volunteers, Brian Marsh OBE, Chairman of the Marsh Christian Trust, said:
'Your work in facilitating the relocation of the Blaenavon Community Museum, and your efforts to increase the profile of the museum in the tourism industry, was considered by the judging panel as exceptional.'
The volunteers have overcome significant challenges in recent years. As a consequence of local authority spending cuts, the Blaenavon Community Museum was relocated into the town's historic Workmen's Hall in 2015. The move necessitated countless hours of hard work, as every artefact had to be packed, recorded and safely moved to their new home. The collection was rationalised and new displays were set up to tell the cultural heritage of the Blaenavon Industrial Landscape World Heritage Site.
The museum, which is run entirely by volunteers, has since been awarded Full Accreditation from the Arts Council and the Welsh Government's Museums, Archives and Libraries Division (MALD), in recognition of its adherence to professional museum standards. Since re-opening to the public, visitor figures have increased considerably as people from over the world have visited to learn more about Blaenavon's proud heritage.
In acknowledgement of their achievements, the volunteers were awarded a cheque for £2,500 and spent a day at the British Museum, where they were treated to the Sunkin Cities exhibition and a drinks reception with regional winners from across the United Kingdom.
Posted on: Thursday 29th September 2016