Verdant Works Wins Entrepreneurial Museum Award
The Museum & Heritage Awards celebrate best practice within museums, galleries and heritage visitor attractions across the UK. Eleven awards are presented over a variety of different categories such as Permanent Exhibition, Marketing Campaign, Innovations and Education Initiative, all judged by a panel of leading experts from the sector.
Scotland’s Jute Museum @ Verdant Works was delighted to win the Winstan Bond Trophy for Entrepreneurial Museum award category for last year’s highly successful ‘From Carriers to Coffins – Jute in the 21st Century’ temporary exhibition. The Trophy is awarded to the museum or heritage or attraction which best demonstrates an opportunity seized, a product created or service delivered that creatively secures a significant increase in public benefit, capital or income for the museum.
Last night Gill Poulter, Heritage and Exhibitions Director and Julie Millerick, Curator of Dundee Heritage Trust attended the prestigious Museum & Heritage Awards. The glittering ceremony was hosted by comedienne and broadcaster Sue Perkins at the Historic Staterooms of 8 Northumberland Avenue in the heart of London.
Nominated in the category alongside Verdant Works were National Museums Liverpool for the new Museum of Liverpool and Turner Contemporary in Margate for ‘Art Works’. In deciding the winners the judges looked for evidence of ‘outcome, creativity, relation to objective and cost effectiveness’. Winning entries had to show all of this but they also had to demonstrate something extra - true excellence!
Julie Millerick Curator of Dundee Heritage Trust said, ‘We are delighted to be able to bring back to Dundee the Winstan Bond Trophy for Best Entrepreneurial Museum. It is a fantastic achievement to beat off strong competition from two such big institutions, National Museums Liverpool and Turner Contemporary. Everybody involved in the project thoroughly enjoyed working on it and the result was a vibrant celebration of contemporary jute production – colourful, exciting and attractive. To receive this award is recognition of the exhibition’s success and a fitting reward for the team’s hard work. It was also lovely to be congratulated by so many other museums on the night who were impressed by how creative we have been on such a low budget!’
‘From Carriers to Coffins – Jute in the 21st Century’, was a major free temporary exhibition at Verdant Works which ran for 6 months during 2011. The exhibition highlighted the weird to the wonderful world of jute today, in areas including fashion, art, home furnishings, geo-textiles, the military and eco-funerals. A major programme of contemporary collecting was carried out, providing quirky and striking objects for the museum collections, many of which were displayed for the first time as part of the exhibition.
The main objective was to raise the profile of Verdant Works and increase visitor numbers by offering an exhibition which would catch people’s imaginations. The aim was to encourage new visitors to the museum by presenting jute in a different and exciting way, challenging preconceptions about the material. Backed up by a strong marketing campaign, the exhibition was a tremendous success, attracting new and repeat visitors to the museum so that Verdant Works had its best visitor figures for many years. Visitor numbers were 47% up and admissions income 25% up on the same six month period in 2010, with associated significant increases in retail and catering spend, extremely important to the sustainability of Verdant Works.