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British Museum accolade for diverse project

Prestigious prize for Do You See What I See?

Do You See What I See? volunteers outside the British Museum
Do You See What I See? volunteers outside the British Museum

The British Museum has awarded a prestigious prize to a project which saw people from diverse groups living in and around Loughborough, taking a new look at their history, heritage and culture.

Do You See What I See? was developed by the county council's heritage and libraries participation team, working collaboratively with the council’s market town museums and collections and learning teams. It's been named East Midlands regional winner of the Marsh Award for Volunteers in Museum Learning. 

The project aimed to engage with new audiences and encouraged them to explore and make connections with the museum collections.

More than 100 people took part, including at-risk young people, adults with learning disabilities, homeless and vulnerable people, a South Asian women’s group, a Polish community group and members of an independent living group for men from black and minority ethnic backgrounds.

They took part in a series of workshops looking at heritage and culture from their own unique viewpoint, as well as sharing their own treasured objects.

The project culminated in the Do You See What I See? exhibition at Charnwood Museum.

The exhibition included the displays 'My Special Sooty Collection' by Esme Marriott, 'Stitching Traditions' by the Anand Mangal Ladies, 'Why I'm Proud to be a Polish Woman' by Jola Sularz, and the 'Black Lives Matter Too!'  project co-curated by the county council's participation team and Opal 22 Arts & Edutainment.

The exhibition can still be viewed digitally in the virtual museum at https://digital.onetoonedevelopment.org/charnwood

The award celebrates the contribution of volunteers in recognition of innovation, dedication and excellence in engaging the public in museums, galleries and heritage sites across the UK.

The exhibition, and the workshops which led up to it, allowed the voices of people who might not traditionally engage with museums to be heard, as well as giving them the chance to share their unique perspective on what heritage means to them. Winning this award is a well-deserved honour for all of those involved in the project, which has seen them recognised on a national stage.

The award was presented to the council’s participation and audience development manager Amanda Hanton and some of the volunteers at the British Museum earlier this month.

The award judges said: “We were extremely impressed by the way the volunteers had worked collaboratively – generously sharing their own personal stories – to create a wholeheartedly community-focused exhibition.

"Do You See What I See? is a wonderful example of a project that brings people together, celebrates differences and increases understanding of different cultures."

To further celebrate the award, a short film exploring the journey of the Do You See What I See? project has been launched and can be seen at https://www.cultureleicestershire.co.uk/projects/doyouseewhatisee/

More information about how the heritage and libraries participation team supports communities is available by contacting Amanda Hanton at amanda.hanton@leics.gov.uk

 

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