Sharing Heritage: Museum Makers Group celebrates £6,000 Heritage Lottery Fund Grant

Museum-Makers

The Museum Makers rehearsing for their latest performance ‘The Vikings are Coming!’ at the Dorset County Museum

Dorset County Museum has received a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) Sharing Heritage grant, it was announced today.  The grant will fund an exciting Museum Makers project which will provide educational and inspirational opportunities for adults with learning disabilities as they engage with the collections at the Museum.  

The project will work with local disability groups, carers, specialist artists and performers on a wide range of creative activities inspired by the Museum’s desire to share the stories of Dorset’s heritage with vulnerable adults in the community.  Weekly creative sessions will include activities such as acting, music, craft making and shadow puppetry which will result in the group producing and performing a play and a film for friends, family and the wider community to enjoy, all inspired by the Museum’s collections.

The initial focus for the group will be recently acquired archaeology collections including the Viking skeletons discovered on the South Dorset Ridgeway, which the Museum Makers will use to explore the Viking connection with Dorset, performing a play based on their discoveries.

The latter half of the project will see the group explore themes relating to the Museum’s current exhibition of railway posters of the twentieth century, Speed to the West:  a Nostalgic Journey.  From this they will produce a film on the coming of the railway to Dorchester, connections with Dorset’s literary heritage and the founding of the Museum itself in response to the threat posed by the construction of the new railways to Dorset’s archaeological heritage and natural history.

Commenting on the award, Andy Worth, Museum Makers Volunteer, said “We’re thrilled to have been awarded this grant and we can’t wait to get started on the project. The Museum Makers group will feel a stronger sense of belonging to their community through engaging with Dorset’s past, and at the same time they will be developing their own self-confidence through learning new skills, performing and film-making.  We’re also delighted by the support we’ve had from Dorset County Museum, and can’t emphasise enough how crucial this interim grant is to the Museum Makers. ”  

Dr Peter Down, Chairman of Dorset County Museum added “This will be a really fantastic project, and staff and volunteers here at the Museum will give our whole hearted support to the Museum Makers in any way that we can.”

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TV Historian Dan Snow visits Dorset County Museum for his latest TV Series

Dan Snow with Dr. Louise Loe -  Andy Worth/Dorset County Museum © 2015

Dan Snow with Dr. Louise Loe – Andy Worth/Dorset County Museum © 2015

On Wednesday the 19th August 2015, TV Historian, Dan Snow came to the Dorset County Museum to film his latest BBC TV series exploring the age of the Vikings.
This programme will feature the discovery of a mass grave of skeletons in 2009 on Ridgeway Hill during the construction of the Weymouth Relief Road in Dorset. Around 50 skeletons, predominantly of young Scandinavian adult males, were found in an old quarry pit. All had been decapitated. Their heads had been placed in a pile located at one edge of the grave.

Dr. Louise Loe, Head of Heritage Burial Services at Oxford Archaeology discussed with Dan the evidence in identifying these individuals, their origins and even their state of health.
The remains of these Ridgeway Vikings and other important archaeology treasures will be on permanent display in the museum’s newly refurbished Ancient Dorset Gallery. The refurbishment of this gallery has been supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty South Dorset Ridgeway Landscape Partnership Scheme, Dorset County Council, West Dorset District Council and Alice Ellen Cooper-Dean Charitable Foundation.

The Ancient Dorset gallery at Dorset County Museum will become the visitor centre for the South Dorset Ridgeway. Ultimately it will link in with information panels to be displayed along the ridgeway itself helping visitors explore this area which is rich in heritage. This landscape is considered by many to be as important as Stonehenge and Avebury for revealing the lives of our ancestors. The ridge of high land, running parallel with the coast between Weymouth and Dorchester has been an important place for people for over five thousand years. It has over 1,000 monuments that record the history of the Ridgeway since that time.

Jon Murden, director of Dorset County Museum said “The archaeology of Dorset is the history of over 400,000 years of human habitation in the county – our collections are nationally significant and cover the entire period from Palaeolithic times to Saxon and Viking Dorset, so it will be especially exciting for the Museum to be featured in this programme which will be screened later this year.”

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The Dorset Archaeological Award 2015

The Dorset Archaeological Award 2015The 14th biennial award to celebrate contributions to the present understanding of Dorset’s archaeological past

Dorset Archaeological Committee

The Dorset Archaeological Committee consists of representatives from local government, museums, archaeological societies, the National Farmers Union, the County Landowners and Business Association and other interest groups.

The committee promotes all aspects of archaeological work in the county of Dorset and has established three awards to recognise outstanding contributions to Dorset archaeology.

  • The Dorset Archaeological Award
  • The Ian Horsey Memorial Award
  • Young Archaeologist’s Award

The judges for the 2015 Dorset Archaeological Awards are:

  • Mr Les Ames MBE
  • Mr David Carter
  • Mrs Penny Copland-Griffiths
  • Dr Jon Murden (Chair)
  • Mrs Maureen Putnam
  • Mrs Francesca Radcliffe

 

The Dorset Archaeological Award

Nominations can be made for any project involving the preservation or conservation of the county’s heritage, excavation, publication, surveys, reporting of finds, education or sponsorship.

Nominations can be submitted either by those personally involved in projects or by another individual or group, provided that the permission of the nominee is obtained.

The nomination should consist of a written submission together with a description, maps or diagrams, and a selection of photographs. Wherever possible five images should be submitted to support the application.

Credits should be given for images and permission obtained for their possible publication. Projects will be summarised and may be displayed by the Dorset Archaeological Committee, and may be used in publications subsequently.

The Ian Horsey Memorial Award

An occasional award given, at the judges’ discretion, to an individual for a significant personal contribution to archaeology in Dorset.


The winner will receive a trophy; in previous years this has been an engraved glass bowl.
Written nominations alone are required for the Ian Horsey Memorial Award.
The winner will be presented with a trophy, to be held for two years and a commemorative certificate. Certificates will be given to the runner-up and up to two highly-commended entries.

The 2013 Dorset Archaeological Award was won by St Mary’s church, Puddletown for a major conservation programme involving the relocation of the important monuments in the Athelhampton Chapel. The Ian Horsey Memorial Award was won by Dr Alistair Somerville-Ford, Julian Richards, and Claire Ryley, for the ‘What’s Under Your School?’ project.

Previous winners are:

  • 1988 The Studland Bay Wreck
  • 1990 The Duchy of Cornwall (sponsorship)
  • 1992 Norman Field (Roman Dorset)
  • 1994 David Strange (Worth Matravers)
  • 1996 Jill Phillips (quarr houses in Purbeck)
  • 1998 The Bestwall Quarry Project
  • 2000 John Stark and Crickmay Partnership (Roman Town House)
  • 2002 Bill Putnam (Dorchester Roman aqueduct)
  • 2004 Ed Cumming (Earl of Abergavenny)
  • 2007 Christopher Dalton (bells and belfries of Dorset)
  • 2009 Dan Carter (buildings of the Verwood Pottery industry)
  • 2011 Priest’s House Museum and Garden, Wimborne Minster (‘Dig it!’ community project)

Young Archaeologist’s Award

Any young person who is still at school or college can be nominated for this award for an archaeological project, presentation of an archaeological or historic site, or an exceptional examination achievement.

Written nominations alone are required for the Young Archaeologist’s Award, but may be accompanied by images or examples of the person’s work, as appropriate. The winner will receive a certificate.

This year the South Dorset Ridgeway Landscape Partnership is sponsoring an additional award for a project that focuses on the prehistory of the South Dorset Ridgeway.

This ancient ceremonial landscape stretches parallel to the coast, from Eggardon Hill in the west to the villages of Osmington and Poxwell in the east. The South Dorset Ridgeway has been a place of importance since the Neolithic period (4000-2000 BC) with over 500 ancient monuments recording the history of the Ridgeway at that time.

The winner will receive £25 to be spent on a book related to the South Dorset Ridgeway.

Find out more about the Partnership and the Ridgeway at www.southdorsetridgeway.org.uk


Nominations should be sent by email to c.j.pinder@dorsetcc.gov.uk or by post to: Dorset Archaeological Awards (for the attention of the Hon Secretary, Dorset Archaeological Committee), Dorset County Museum, High West Street, Dorchester, Dorset DT1 1XA by 30th June 2015.

Presentation

The 2015 awards will be presented by Lord Renfrew of Kaimsthorn MA, PhD, Hon DLitt, FBA, FSA. The ceremony will be held at The Corn Exchange, Wareham on Friday 16th October 2015 at 6.30pm.

The ceremony is open to all, but attendance is strictly by ticket only because accommodation is limited.

Tickets will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis. Please apply for tickets to the Hon Secretary, Dorset Archaeological Committee, 20 Frome Terrace, Dorchester DT1 1XJ. Please note that tickets will be circulated shortly before the ceremony.