Projects involving Nottingham City Council’s Museums and Galleries Service (NCMG) have recently been awarded top honours in three categories at the East Midlands Heritage Awards. The awards are designed to highlight progress and successes, recognise the hard work of staff and volunteers and to share best practice across the heritage and museums sector.

The first award related to the NCMG Volunteer Programme, with Greens Mill volunteers winning the ‘Heart of the Community’ category where Green’s Mill Trust won the ‘Heart of the Community Award’ for their community garden.

The Trust took over a large derelict allotment adjacent to the mill and have transformed it with the support of their volunteers into a vibrant community space. As well as producing an abundance of produce, the garden is also providing volunteering opportunities, educational resources and a tranquil space in the heart of the City.

The Green’s Windmill Trust became a charity in 2012, taking over day-to-day operations at the Mill and Science Centre. Their aim is to help preserve the milling heritage of the windmill, promote George Green’s scientific reputation and further the educational and public activities of the Science Centre. The Trust is now a charitable company limited by guarantee.

A second volunteer award came as Nottingham Industrial Museum volunteers won the ‘Totally Voluntary Award’ for the research, design and production of a range of merchandise to raise funds. The team of volunteers created a unique range of handcrafted and branded gifts to sell in the museum.

Nottingham Industrial Museum volunteers took over the day to day running of the museum in 2011 and became a registered charity in 2016.  This knowledgeable and enthusiastic volunteer team preserves Nottingham’s incredible industrial heritage.

The team that developed the Cassandra Room
The team that developed the Cassandra Room

The third award was a judges’ special award for the partnership with Dragon Breath Theatre to develop the Cassandra Room at Wollaton Hall. Dragon Breath’s artistic directors, designer Nettie Scriven and writer Peter Rumney were closely involved with developing creative learning in Nottingham’s schools and both have close associations with the Theatre Design course at Nottingham Trent University, where Peter is a lecturer. The Cassandra Room was funded by Arts Council England and since opening has been used as a pilot learning resource by Dunkirk Primary School and enjoyed by thousands of visitors.

The Cassandra Room demonstrates a decidedly theatrical and innovative approach to telling the story of the Willoughby family. The room tells the story of the first hundred years of Wollaton’s new Hall and is part of the ongoing redevelopment of Wollaton Hall’s galleries. The room is an immersive space for families to explore, and for school groups to learn about how people lived in the past, in an interactive way.

The team also worked with paper sculptor Trina Bramman, as well as internationally renowned composer Helen Chadwick and sound designer Duncan Chave. Karen Grover of Time Tarts made the replica costumes that Nettie designed. Ashley Wright and Adrian Towell of NCMG Design Team developed the creative construction and graphics.

The project was chosen as a winner for the rich learning resource this exhibition has provided since opening with a pilot project funded by Arts Council England and with Dunkirk Primary School.

Cllr Dave Trimble, portfolio holder for leisure and culture said: “Many congratulations to all our award winners. These projects are great examples of partnership working between NCMG and the board/Trust members at these sites. It is important that we recognise these teams that work tirelessly to promote and to protect our heritage in the City. It is also wonderful that our teams have been able to bring innovation to the service once again and to look at new and exciting ways to show our rich history to as wide a range of audiences as possible.”