Second prestigious award for volunteer-run Bakewell Old House Museum

By Veronica Cowan Published: 29 July 2009

a photo of bearded man presenting an award to a woman

(Above) Anita Spencer, Manager of Bakewell Old House Museum, accepting her Museum of the Year Award

The Old House Museum in Bakewell has scooped the Derbyshire Museum of the Year 2009.

Made during the Renaissance Heritage Awards on July 9 in the suitably dramatic setting of Creswell Crags, it is the second time the volunteer-run museum has gained the accolade, having also won in 2007.

Dating from 1534, the Museum is the oldest standing building in Bakewell, housing a small exhibition of local life and artefacts in 11 beamed rooms. It has Tudor fireplaces, a Victorian kitchen, a wheelwright and a smithy, as well as Ashford marble, lace, toys, china and a large collection of cameras and photographs.

The magnificent beamed room, The Solar, displays some of the Museum's magnificent costume collection.

a photo of an old brick built house

The Museum is the oldest building in Bakewell

"The judges had a really hard time this year as the standard of entries was excellent," said Anita Hollinshead, Derbyshire Museum Development Officer. "These awards are a great way to celebrate our county's museums and shows how lucky we are to have such fantastic quality museums, providing great days out for all the family, on our doorstep."

The building, originally owned by the Dean and Chapter of Lichfield, was leased in 1777 by Richard Arkwright to house workers for the mill he built in the town, but by 1935 it had to be saved from demolition and restored by the Bakewell and District Historical Society.

Today it relies solely on the work of more than 100 volunteers. The judges were impressed by the commitment and enthusiasm of everyone involved.

Manager Anita Spencer said: "In spite of being in the throes of a large Heritage Lottery project, the volunteers continue to develop new community projects, like the DP Battery Reunion event, which won the Best Event category, too.

"The museum could not open without its volunteers and is reliant on visitors to cover everyday running costs. I am so proud of everything they achieve."

The Awards, supported by Renaissance East Midlands, are in their third year, recognising excellence in museums and heritage across the county.

The 2009 winners in full:

Best Event 2009
Winner: Bakewell Old House Museum, for DP Battery Reunion
Highly Recommended: Barrow Hill Engine Shed Society for LNER II

Caring for Collections 2009
Winner: Princess Royal Class Locomotive Trust for Conservation of the 1912 London, Midland & Scottish Railway Dynamometer Car

Inspiration Award for Best Special Project 2009
Winner: Strutt's North Mill Belper and Derby Museums & Art Gallery for Early Years Story Telling Partnership Project

Best Exhibition 2009
Winners: Hope House Costume Museum for One Hundred Years of Fashion and Buxton Museum and Gallery for Places in the Landscape

Judges Special Award 2009
Winner: Heage Windmill for an innovative solution to providing access to the mill, delivered by volunteers to a very high standard.

Judges Special Award 2009
Winner: National Sikh Heritage Centre and Holocaust Museum for Best Newcomer

Museum of the Year 2009
Winner: Bakewell Old House Museum

More on the venues and organisations we've mentioned: