Hertfordshire Association of Museum Awards 2023
Lowewood Museum has won this year’s Hertfordshire Museum Object of the Year Award. The winning object, announced at the HAM Awards Presentation Event, is the iconic set of four wooden swans which sat for 100 years on wooden gallows across Waltham Cross’s High Street.
Runners-up were the Garden City Collection with a “Boycott the Circus” fly poster and a Watford FC mobile phone nominated by Watford Museum.
Around 1100 people voted for their object of the year from a choice of fourteen artefacts nominated by museums across Hertfordshire. As always, a wide and eclectic range of objects were put forward for the public vote. Two of the oldest objects were a Papal bull with bulla issued by Pope Urban IV on 22 Sep 1263 nominated by Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies, and a Giant Toe which may date back to 1400BC submitted by North Hertfordshire Museum. In contrast Stevenage Museum entered a Gordon the Gopher puppet and The Bunker Museum at Hatfield Police Station put forward a Diorama of Blue Streak Missile Silo. Other entries included a railway sleeper with chair, a glis glis (also known as an edible dormouse), a Victorian dolls house chamber pot, Klick the Kodak Kolorkin, a carving knife and fork with handles made from the legs of a deer and the diaries and accounts of a Rickmansworth farmer dating back to Victorian times. A particularly intriguing entry was the Chain of Office of the Chief Gargler of Ancient Order of Froth Blowers.
The awards are run by the Hertfordshire Association of Museums, a dynamic and active network supporting people who work for and volunteer in museums and heritage organisations in Hertfordshire. Supporting museums in Hertfordshire means supporting communities, education, tourism, and wellbeing. Packed with treasures, often little known, our museums tell the story of our shared heritage and our communities.
Other award winners were:
Transformation Award: The Bunker at Hatfield Police Station, creating a new museum
Project of the Year: Garden City Collection, Tom Karen Creations
Inclusion Award: Dacorum Heritage, Fireworks and Festivals
Wellbeing Award: Bishops Stortford Museum, PCN Art Group
Heritage Hero Awards were presented to individuals from eight museums across the county to recognise the wonderful work they have done supporting museums and communities.
Awards were given to
PC Paddy Phelan for his work at the Bunker Museum at Hatfield Police Station
Peter Burford, Jonathan Innocent and Pete Shallcross for their work at de Havilland Aircraft Museum
Geoff Cordingley for his work at HALS
Lynn Phillips for her work at Lowewood Museum
Alan Fleck for his work at North Hertfordshire Museum
Phil Smith for his work at Royston Museum
Sue Carter and Christine Orchard for their work at Watford Museum.
Special mention was made of Alistair Hodgson who not only played a major part in the creation of the Bunker Museum at Hatfield Police Station, but was also nominated for a Heritage Hero Award for his work at the Natural History Museum at Tring.