Announcement of the winners of the 2013 Marsh Volunteer Awards

The British Museum and the Marsh Christian Trust announce the winners of 2013 volunteer awards celebrating the work and achievements of museum volunteers.

The British Museum and the Marsh Christian Trust have been working in partnership for the sixth year for the ‘Volunteers for Museum Learning’ award which recognises the hugely valuable contribution that volunteers make in helping museums engage with their visitors.

The ‘Volunteers for Museum Learning’ award forms part of a programme of awards presented by the Marsh Christian Trust in the fields of science, ecology, conservation, heritage, literature and volunteering. Each one of these awards recognises individuals and organisations who devote their lives to improving the world today and the world in the future. The Marsh awards programme is managed in association with key partners including the Zoological Society of London, Council for British Archaeology, Barnardo’s, the Refugee Council and the British Museum.

The aim of the ‘Volunteers for Museum Learning’ award is to recognise those volunteers who work directly with museum visitors in any capacity. This could involve leading a school group, staffing an information desk, helping with family activities, running a guided tour or any number of other ways in which volunteers provide such excellent service to museum visitors.

World history will be examined through objects including a Mayan lintel, a Roman medical encyclopaedia translated into Arabic and a bronze vessel from Shang China. The mummy and coffin of Asru, dating from around 700BC, and important pieces in Manchester Museum’s Egyptology collection will also feature.

There were a large number of applications from across the UK, some from groups of volunteers and some from individuals. The judges consisted of staff from the Marsh Trust, staff and volunteers from the British Museum and a representative from another museum. The British Museum is delighted to host the awards, being very aware of the crucial contribution volunteers make to the well-being of the Museum and its enjoyment by the public.

Due to the British Museum’s involvement in the ceremony and judging, volunteers from the British Museum were ineligible for the awards.

Joanna Mackle, Deputy Director of the British Museum said “Volunteers make a vital contribution to museums across the country, ensuring the smooth and successful running of their organisation. The Marsh Awards recognise this valuable support that volunteers give to our museums and we are very grateful to the Marsh Christian Trust for acknowledging this important work”.

The winners will each receive a cash prize of £500, donated by the Marsh Christian Trust. There is usually one overall winner who receives an additional £2,000, but this year due to the extremely high standard of applicants the prize was shared by two organisations.

The list of winners for Volunteers for Museum Learning is:

Archive and Library Volunteers, Pontypool Museum

Museums Alive Volunteers, Edinburgh Museums and Galleries

North West
Nigel Meyrick, Grosvenor Museum, Chester

North East
Herb Garden Volunteers, Bede’s World, Jarrow

The Millers at Sarehole Mill, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (joint winner)
Peter Gilbert, Erasmus Darwin House, Lichfield (joint winner)

Adult Tour Volunteer Guides, Ripon Museum Trust

South West/East
Roy Calthorpe, Battle Museum of Local History

Family Learning Volunteers, Museum of London Archaeological Archives

Northern Ireland
Joni Wilson and Ann Mayne, Carrickfergus Museum and Civic Centre

National Winners
Herb Garden Volunteers, Bede’s World, Jarrow (joint winner)
Family Learning Volunteers, Museum of London Archaeological Archives (joint winner)

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