Volunteers at four industrial heritage sites in Mid and East Antrim are celebrating after being recognised with highly commended awards for their significant contribution to the Shaped by Industry – Shared with Pride cultural tourism project.
The prestigious award scheme is organised by the British Museum with the Marsh Christian Foundation.
The volunteers were highly commended by judges for their significant contribution to the Shaped by Industry – Shared with Pride cultural tourism project led by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council with Carrickfergus Enterprise and Big Telly Theatre Company in 2018 and 2019.
The local volunteers were just pipped at the post as the Northern Ireland Regional winners for the 2020 Awards in the Volunteers for Museum Learning category.
Only a few highly commended certificates are given out each year across the UK so it is a great achievement.
Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor Peter Johnson said: “I am delighted that once again the strong volunteering spirit that we have in our Borough has been recognised. I am also pleased that some of the most significant industrial heritage along the Causeway Coastal Route in our Borough has been highlighted in this way.”
Volunteers from The Heritage Hub at Carnlough Town Hall; Glenarm Visitor Centre/Glenarm Preservation Trust; Flame! Gasworks Museum, Carrickfergus and Whitehead Railway Museum showed that they were keen to learn new ways of engaging with visitors. They were supported by a researcher to carry out rigorous research on their industrial history which was imaginatively teamed with innovative participative theatre performances by professional actors, bringing industrial heritage alive.
Visitors to their sites, many first time visitors, were impressed with the results and found their immersive experience to be both actively engaging and memorable.
Stuart Frost, Head of Interpretation and Volunteers at the British Museum, commented: “The judges were particularly impressed by the creative and collaborative way the project’s volunteers contributed to theatrical performances, helping to bring four important heritage sites to life for the public in an active, dynamic and participatory way.”
The Shaped by Industry – Shared with Pride project was principally funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund with the Department of Communities and Tourism NI to mark the European Year of Cultural Heritage in 2018.