Museum wins volunteer award

Museum wins volunteer award

Bassetlaw Museum and the volunteers who were part of the Wampanoag Perspective Project have been recognised by the British Museum and the Marsh Charitable Trust.

The 2021 ‘Volunteers for Museum Learning’ awards celebrate the work and achievements of museum volunteers across the UK, and Bassetlaw Museum were winners in the East Midlands category for their unique cultural exchange that shared the Wampanoag Nation and Native American history and traditions, and their links to the Mayflower Pilgrims.

The project involved volunteers leading and assisting with several educational sessions for children across Bassetlaw, as well as cultural displays and performances that allowed people to learn about Native American Culture, our shared history and watch the assembly of a Wetu, which is still in place in the grounds of Bassetlaw Museum.

Representatives from Bassetlaw Museum and volunteers who worked on the project collected their award during a ceremony at the British Museum in London last week and Sam Glasswell, Curator of Bassetlaw Museum said: “The Wampanoag Perspective was a wonderful project to be involved in and brought to life a more balanced story associated with the Mayflower Pilgrims and the Wampanoag people.

“Getting nearly 600 children engaged in dynamic learning over the course of four days was an astonishing achievement made possible by our outstanding team of volunteers.  I’d like to thank them all for their involvement, as well as the officers who worked tirelessly in the lead up to and during the project. This national recognition is well deserved.”

The British Museum and the Marsh Charitable Trust have been working in partnership for the 14th year of the ‘Volunteers for Museum Learning’ award which recognises the hugely important contribution that volunteers make to help museums engage with their visitors. Celebrating the time volunteers have given in the previous year is particularly pertinent as teams and individuals helped their museums and heritage sites recover from the pandemic.

The aim of the ‘Volunteers for Museum Learning’ award is to recognise those volunteers who engage directly with museum visitors in any capacity. This could involve leading a school group, staffing an information desk, helping with family activities, running a guided tour or any number of other ways in which volunteers provide support to museum visitors.

Muriel Gray, Deputy Chair of the Trustees at the British Museum said: “Museums across the UK are grateful for the contribution of volunteers to ensure they reach and inspire as many people as possible. Volunteers are also an important part of the British Museum community.  The efforts of volunteers up and down the country in 2021 are an inspiration as they gave their time throughout a challenging period, helping museums and heritage sites with their recovery from the impacts of the pandemic. These awards recognise the commitment and enthusiasm of volunteers in museums and we are very grateful to the Marsh Charitable Trust for acknowledging this work.”

The Wampanoag Perspective Project, led by Bassetlaw District Council and funded by the Arts Council and Nottinghamshire County Council allowed visitors to the museum the opportunity to learn about Native American culture from some of the direct relatives of those who first encountered the Pilgrims as they arrived in Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1620.

Cllr James Naish, Leader of Bassetlaw District Council, said: “This was a ground-breaking project that would not have been possible without the support and contributions of an amazing team of volunteers. It was a special week that added another dimension to our links to the Mayflower Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Nation, which was brought to life by everyone who was part of this now award-winning project.”

Councillor Keith Girling, Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Asset Management at Nottinghamshire County Council said: “It is fantastic to see the hard work of the team of volunteers involved recognised and celebrated. 

“The Wampanoag Project provides us with a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the unique culture of Native American traditions and how future generations can learn more about the importance of acceptance and inclusion. I’m delighted we have been able to contribute funding from our Economic Initiatives Budget to support the now award-winning project.”

The ‘Volunteers for Museum Learning’ award forms part of a programme of awards presented by the Marsh Charitable Trust in the fields of science, ecology, conservation, heritage, literature and volunteering. Each one of these awards recognises individuals and organisations who devote their lives to improving the world today and in the future. The Marsh Awards programme is managed in association with key partners including the Zoological Society of London, English Heritage, Barnardo’s, the Refugee Council and the British Museum.

There were many applications from across the UK, some from groups of volunteers and some from individuals. The judges consisted of staff from the Marsh Trust, staff and volunteers from the British Museum and a representative from the Royal Horticultural Society.  The British Museum is delighted to host the awards each year, celebrating the valuable contribution volunteers make to the running of the Museum and its enjoyment by the public.

The winners will each receive a cash prize of £500, donated by the Marsh Charitable Trust. The one overall national winner receives an additional £2,000.

Last Updated on Tuesday, December 13, 2022