When Buxton Museum and Art Gallery first considered the idea of applying to be one of a handful of venues for the British Museum touring exhibition Hoards two years ago, they almost certainly underestimated the massive success the exhibition would bring for what was once a little known attraction in Derbyshire.
The Derbyshire County Council owned museum collected another accolade on 24th September 2019 when 130 guests attended the Biennial Regional Heritage Awards in the magnificent setting of the National Civil War Museum and Palace Theatre in Newark.
Funded and organised by Museum Development East Midlands, the awards recognise excellence and innovation in museums, historic houses and heritage sites across the region.
Buxton Museum was selected as the only museum in the Northwest and Midlands to host the British Museum/Salisbury Museum touring exhibition: Hoards: a hidden history of ancient Britain.
Coins with ceramic money boxes, jewellery, silver and other treasure, including spectacular Iron Age gold torcs and recent prehistoric and Roman discoveries from Wessex were just some of the objects featured in the exhibition. The glittering display of finds explored why ancient people placed precious objects underwater and in the ground since the Bronze age. Tracing the story of hoarding from weapons discovered in the River Thames and the first Iron Age coin hoards, through to hoards buried after the collapse of Roman rule in Britain and in more recent times, the exhibition showcased recent discoveries reported by finders and archaeologists through the Treasure Act.
Unique to the Hoards exhibition in Buxton, Peak District photographer Nick Lockett was commissioned to capture a collection of images of locations in Derbyshire – close to various sites of the discovery of caches.
Since the major redevelopment of the museum in Buxton in 2017 with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, visitor numbers have steadily increased. Hoards has almost certainly helped to increase the profile of the museum further both regionally and nationally, reporting record visitor figures for April – July in 2019.
There were a record number of 83 entries from 48 different organisations at this year’s awards, the competition was fierce and the judging team had some difficult decisions to make. The breadth and quality of the entries, and the range of organisations that had entered, really demonstrated how much extraordinary and excellent work is taking place in heritage organisations throughout the East Midlands.
Buxton Museum fought off competition from 19 other entries in their category including the British Museum touring show Viking: Rediscover the Legend at the University of Nottingham and Derby Museums acclaimed Make Works Derby and Derbyshire
The awards were judged by Dr Abi Hunt, Head of Department (Marketing and Tourism) at the University of Lincoln; Chris Keady, Head of Collections, Learning and Participation and Interim Museum Manager at Sheffield Industrial Museums Trust and Katt Hanson, a Masters student on the Museum and Heritage Development course at Nottingham Trent University. Dr Abi Hunt and Chris Keady took part in the ceremony, sharing their thoughts on the entries and presenting the awards.
The Sky’s the Limit
Winner – Buxton Museum and Art Gallery for ‘Hoards: a hidden history of ancient Britain’
Highly Commended – Chesterfield Museum and Art Gallery for ‘The Trench Experience’
Highly Commended – Markham Vale Heritage Group for ‘Walking Together Markham Vale Mining Memorial Heritage Trail’
Behind the Scenes at the Museum
Winner – National Justice Museum for ‘HM Prison Service Collection Digitisation Project’
Highly Commended – Creswell Heritage Trust for ‘Instagram Video Series: The Collection’
Best Project on a Shoestring (less than £1,000)
Winner – Mansfield Museum for ‘Fitness, Food & Fun’
Highly Commended – The Friends of Metheringham Airfield for ‘Creating a Memorial Room fit for heroes at Metheringham Airfield Visitor Centre’
Winner – Canalside Heritage Centre for ‘Canalside Visions: Beijing to Beeston and back again’
Highly Commended – Crafting Relationships for ‘Local History Café’
Heart of the Community
Winner – Erewash Museum for ‘The Beach’ at Erewash Museum
Highly Commended – Spiral Projects for ‘March of the Fifty’
For more information on the latest events, what’s on and exhibitions at Buxton Museum and Art Gallery, visit their website or follow them on social media:
Buxton Museum & Art Gallery, Terrace Road, Buxton, SK17 6DA
T: 01629. 533540
Opening times: Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 5pm (Sundays and bank holidays, from Easter to September 12 noon to 4pm)
Entry / Cost: Free