YouTube video inspired by Pharrell's Happy goes viral for museum lovers in Luton

By Ben Miller | 21 March 2014

Museum Makers have turned hit fakers for a video from Luton with thousands of views

The numerous charms of Wardown Park Museum, a former Victorian mansion on the outskirts of central Luton, include a collection of 600 hats and a lace gallery.

Committed to protecting this “little gem on the Luton landscape”, Museum Makers, a community team of volunteers, are partly inspired by memories of their nans taking them there as children. “Others have just moved to Luton and stumbled across the museum”, says their website, inviting all comers to become history preservationists.

And in a video based on Happy, Pharrell Williams’ feelgood factor-powered chart-topper, the group’s spirit of inclusivity has now played itself out to 65,000 people in five days on YouTube.

“We’ve had close to 100 new Museum Makers sign up to get involved in future projects,” says Jemma Murphy, the campaign leader who capitalised on the expertise of one Maker – known as Igniterr, and responsible for an outlet called NangTV – to shoot the fleet-footed film.

“But I think what’s most warming about #lutonhappy was the positivity we have received from the town.

“We have had countless comments, emails, letters and tweets about how people are proud to be Lutonian. #lutonhappy has quite simply made them happy.”

This flash of funky inspiration snowballed quickly on the impromptu dancefloors of Bedfordshire.

“Not only did we receive interest from members of the community who don’t normally engage with the museum, but the project was backed by BBC Three Counties Radio, who even got in the video themselves,” says Murphy.

“We also were contacted by the uni, Luton Sixth Form College, The Keech Hospice for cancer care patients, a residential home from Luton and a number of other local organisations that wanted to be a part of it.

“As a town, we often receive bad press which shines the town in a dull light. Something that many of our Museum Makers have said is that they want to create something that the people of Luton can be proud of and that promotes the diversity and positivity that exists in the town.”

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