Best In Show! Commendations for Museums & Galleries Month

By David Prudames | 06 September 2004
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Shows a photograph of lots of people sitting on board a bus.

The Teignbridge Museums Vintage Bus Project saw around 300 people travel in style between institutions in South Devon.

Five museums and galleries are to receive commendations from Museums Journal to recognise their outstanding contribution to this year’s Museums and Galleries Month.

Taking place throughout the month of May, Museums and Galleries Month (MGM) is an annual celebration of the UK’s cultural institutions and this time around saw an estimated 2000 events take place all over the country.

Working on a theme of Travel and the Art of Travelling, curators and education officers put their thinking caps on and came up with a massive range of exhibitions, lectures and workshops.

A panel of expert judges selected five such events to receive special commendations for their originality and impact.

Shows a photograph of lots of children gazing up at a tile mural, which has been erected on a red brick wall.

The Great Children's Mural at the SS Great Britain in Bristol.

Among the recipients is the SS Great Britain’s Great Children’s Mural, in which local children created tiles inspired by the great ship and the man who built it, Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

Now on permanent display, the mural measures three metres (about 10 feet) in length and was unveiled by a local BBC presenter in May.

"It gave us an interesting way of looking at the ship," the SS Great Britain’s Education Officer, Harriet Jefferies, told the 24 Hour Museum.

Explaining how art education expert Colin Bell helped children look at the ship in different ways, Harriet added that it also gave them a new way to experience history.

Shows a photograph of some children dancing alongside two girls, dressed in traditional Indian outfits.

In Dundee May was a month for celebrating Indian culture.

"They were looking at it in a more abstract way," she said, "really using their imaginations and not just thinking about the date it was launched and so on."

Furthermore, the project made the museum a more accessible and interesting place for the children. Some of them have even come back to take part in subsequent workshops.

"They were really excited about the final product," said Harriet. "I don’t think they could quite believe that they had contributed to it."

Joining the SS Great Britain is Orleans House Gallery in Twickenham, where in Making Our Case 100 participants created labels and stickers for a suitcase and filled it with items for a journey.

Shows a photograph of a woman showing a man and a woman some herbs which have been place on a table.

An introduction to the care of herbs during Sutton Heritage Month.

The whole event cost the gallery just £500 and enabled children, some of whom had never visited before, to learn about different printing techniques.

At Verdant Works in Dundee Jute Journeys – A Celebration of Indian Culture, saw a weekend of traditional Indian culture exploring trading links between Dundee and India, as well as the heritage of Verdant Works (where jute was processed).

A wide range of visitors including Indian community groups with support from local restaurants and shops got involved.

Among the other events picked out for commendations was Sutton Heritage Month, during which 10 events and the launch of new initiatives in three historic houses took place in the London Borough of Sutton.

Shows a photograph of a group of children gathered around a brightly decorated suitcase.

Making Our Case at the Orleans House Gallery in Twickenham, London.

The Teignbridge Museums Vintage Bus Project provided members of the public with a heritage day out as two vintage buses travelled between museums in Teignbridge, Newton Abbot and Dawlish.

Every Friday during May, some 300 passengers were treated to a guide to whichever museum they were about to visit. And there was even time for lunch.

The panel of experts who did the selecting included Vivienne Reiss, Senior Visual Arts Officer at Arts Council England, David Crowther of MLA’s Renaissance in Regions and Diane Lees, Director of Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood.

More on the venues and organisations we've mentioned:
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