By Mark Carnall, on 16 May 2013
Rarely are the Grant Museum team allowed out. At the end of a typical day we’re stuffed back into our respective cases until the next morning when zoologising begins at dawn. Last night was an exception however as the team headed down to the illustrious premises of 8 Northumberland for the 11th Museums and Heritage Awards, the Oscars of the museum world if you will.
We were shortlisted for the Culture Pros Pick Award for the most inspiring museum or heritage visitor attraction. Over 500 nominations were received and the five museums that received the most nominations were put through to a public vote. This is the first time one of the Museums and Heritage Awards has been voted for by the public and we were suitably edge-of-our-seats with anticipation for most of last night. Our fellow nominees were Amlwch Copper Bins, Dorking Museum & Heritage Centre, Museum of London, and Stow Maries Aerodrome.
However, if you read the title of this post then you may already gathered that we won it! To prove it, here’s Scary Monkey with the award, complete with our grubby fingerprints from last night:
We actually picked up two awards last night, we were accidentally given the Innovations Award trophy (again, we won this award last year), the evening’s host Sue Perkins mixed up the awards but eventually we managed to get the right trophy.
Winning this award is very exciting for the team, particularly as it was voted for by the public. We heartily thank all of our film buffs, twitter followers, animal lovers, lunch hour browsers, colleagues, peers, students, families, artists and young dinosaur geeks who made the effort to vote for us in this category. We pour our hearts and souls into the work we do at the Grant Museum and this award is evidence that we’re doing a good job of it. After all, without our visitors and users we’re just a room of stuff. The day to day running of the museum is done by a team of five, some of who are part time, but we have hundreds of colleagues from our department, UCL Museums and Public Engagement, across UCL and the wider university and museums sectors we work with who we want to thank for supporting and inspiring us.
You can see the full list of winners, commendations and nominees from last night’s awards here.
With last year’s award and this one we hopefully have a breeding pair, as I type this Grant Museum manager Jack Ashby and Director of Museums and Public Engagement Sally MacDonald are on their way to Belgium as the Grant Museum is nominated for the European Museum of the Year Award, the ceremony for which is this Saturday so don’t uncross your fingers just yet!
Mark Carnall is the Curator of the Grant Museum of Zoology
UPDATE 17/05/2013: Added the image from the awards ceremony.