North Mill wins awards at the Derbyshire Heritage Awards Night
by Tom Wyke
Belper North Mill Trust, which runs Strutt’s North Mill Museum, was successful in winning 2 awards at the recent Derbyshire Heritage Awards. The 10th annual awards night celebrates the wonderful work taking place in museums, historic houses and heritage sites across Derbyshire. The Awards were funded by the Derbyshire Museums and Heritage Forum and a grant from Museum Development East Midlands. This year’s Awards were judged by Joy Hales (Editor, Derbyshire Life Magazine) and Pete Brown (Museum Education & Interpretation Consultant) whilst the ceremony was compered by Radio Derby’s Andy Potter. Award winners received a plaque, whilst ‘Highly Commended’ projects were awarded a framed certificate. There were 35 entries from 16 different organisations this year, so the judges were forced to make some very difficult decisions when choosing the winners.
In competition with some other incredible projects, The North Mill won the category ‘Reaching New Audiences’ with its project ‘Creative Craft Activities’. Tom Wyke, the Fundraising and Volunteer Support Officer said “This was a project funded by the Postcode Community Trust and has been responsible for the development of new audiences and forging new links in the local community. It directly engaged socially isolated members of the community, as well as local schools and youth groups in Belper, by inviting them to contribute to group artwork through participatory workshops.” This project is culminating in a temporary exhibition and installation in the museum from Saturday 22nd October through to the end of November. The entries for the craft making competition, to up-cycle industrial wooden bobbins, will also be displayed, alongside the artwork developed at the participatory workshops.
The North Mill, in partnership with Fleet Arts, was also successful in being Highly Commended in the ‘Inspiration Award for Best Special Project’ with its project ‘Part of the Fabric. This incredible art installation, which was funded by the Ashley Family Foundation, helped visitors engage with the museum’s basement space in a different way through threads being woven between the columns. The installation allowed visitors a more experiential sense of the Mill, and the associated workshops attracted new audiences to the museum.
There is a great opportunity to drop down to the Strutt’s North Mill Museum this Half Term as part of the Derwent Valley Mills Discovery Days events. On Sunday 23rd October there will be an Open Day at the Museum with FREE ENTRY from 11am-4pm, with tours by costumed guides and the launch of the new Craft Project Exhibition, as well as heritage walks around the town. There will also be the Belper Mill Artists and Makers Fair from 11am-3pm in the Fit Pit and historical Strutt House, with over 50 local artists and makers showcasing their work. So, why not drop down to Belper’s Award Winning Museum.