Daventry Museum wins Covid Response Award

At the Northamptonshire Heritage Forum Awards, held this year via Zoom on 1stJuly, Daventry Museum won the Best Response to the Covid Pandemic category.

The Forum Awards is a very prestigious event which showcases excellence within Museums, Galleries and Historic Houses in Northamptonshire, and so the museum is thrilled to have been recognised for this unique award.

Staff and volunteers took the lockdown as an opportunity to try new digital technologies to display the museum’s exhibitions, stay in touch with each other, research the collection, tackle an accessioning backlog, and engage safely in person and digitally with audiences old and new.

Screengrabs showing the 360 virtual exhibition

Judges commented that the team seemed to condense 5 years work into a single year. The digital project created awareness in a wider audience even though visitors couldn’t get to the museum.

The museum team were particularly commended for their work in keeping parents and children engaged through home schooling and making an important contribution to family lives in a difficult period. All of this as well as taking the time to work through collections management and making improvements has resulted in a sustainable way of working and making the Museum more resilient for the future.

Enormous thanks to our volunteers, staff and support from Daventry Town Council, without whom the Award would not have been achieved.

Runner-up in Heritage Organisation of the Year category

The museum is also pleased to have been recognised as runner-up in the Heritage Organisation of the Year award category, having been awarded this title in 2019. The news was announced by Martin Lawrence MBE, chairman of the Northamptonshire Heritage Forum (NHF) who visited the museum on Thursday 5th August. Martin praised the efforts of the museum volunteers and staff for their perseverance during the pandemic, and for being at the forefront of digital technologies to keep visitors engaged with the museum. Martin also commended Daventry Town Council for supporting their volunteers and staff.  The museum received the following feedback from the judges:

“There were two main contenders for this award, Daventry Museum and Northampton Museum and Art Gallery. Both achieved high standards of work and used the pandemic as an opportunity to utilise contemporary ways of engaging audiences, volunteers and the staff”.

“Daventry Museum was praised for their involvement with supporting home schooling, promoting wellbeing and supporting volunteers. The museum demonstrated that it uses time effectively and during lockdown tackled an accessioning backlog. Their use of online strategies was commendable. They were able to keep local families and audiences connected and focussed on positivity. In these ways Daventry Museum showed considerable resilience”.

This recognition means an awful lot to the museum team after such a strange and difficult time and we want to thank all our volunteers, staff and Councillors, and not least our visitors, be they digital or in person, for their continued support.

Martin Lawrence MBE, chairman of the NHF (far right), visited the museum to congratulate staff and volunteers for the Covid Response Award and for being runner-up in the Heritage Site of the Year category. Present was the Mayor of Daventry, Cllr Karen Tweedale (second right), and Chief Officer of Daventry Town Council, Deborah Jewell (third right). Also present were museum staff and volunteers.

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