Following the virtual announcement of the Museums + Heritage 2021 Awards winners on Thursday 1st of July 2021, Beamish, The Living Museum, has confirmed that they have won the Pandemic Pivot Award!
One of the key factors which lead to Beamish being chosen for the Pandemic Pivot Award (more than 20 paid full-time equivalent (FTE) employees), over the shortlisted museums was their ability to using creative ideas to engage and connect with the public to promote the history of the North East, throughout 2020 when COVID-19 caused lockdowns and restrictions.
- Bakery deliveries
- Setting up an online shop
- ‘Beamish from Home’ activities
- Live learning sessions
Museums shortlisted for the award included:
- Imperial War Museum London
- Museum of London
- The National Trust for Scotland
- Lichfield Cathedral
- Sarehole Mill – part of Birmingham Museums.
Simon Woolley, Head of Learning at Beamish, was a key player behind Beamish’s success last year which lead to them taking this award, working throughout COVID-19 to ensure Beamish was connecting with the public.
Beamish’s Chief Executive Rhiannon Hiles said: “We are absolutely thrilled to have won the Pandemic Pivot Award at the Museums + Heritage Awards, this is such an honour and is testament to our brilliant staff, volunteers and supporters.
“Beamish is a charity that relies on visitors for almost all of our income, so having to close for extended periods during the pandemic has had a severe impact. During the last year there have been some wonderful and creative approaches across the sector to enable people to still engage with culture and heritage.
“At Beamish we had to act quickly and creatively to successfully pivot our offer, developing innovative ways for people to continue to connect with and enjoy the museum, and continue their support.
“We are delighted to have been recognised in this way and want to say a huge well done to everyone who was shortlisted for an award.”
Speaking before announcing Beamish the winners of the Pandemic Pivot Award, Ahmed said: “The judges say they were impressed by the multifaceted, confident approach of this organisation from the very start, it was the definition of quick thinking and bold pivoting and the warmth of the activity shone through.”
Anna Preedy, Director of the Museums + Heritage Awards, said: “It is truly inspiring to see how our winners have been at the very heart of their communities, playing a vital role in helping to ensure people stay connected and supported during the most challenging of times.
“I have been awestruck by the sector’s collective energy to not only ride out the storm but to seize opportunities, to transform and to challenge. I am delighted that these Awards shine a spotlight on the crucial role museums and heritage visitor attractions play in helping society to reshape and recover from the impact of the pandemic.”
The judging panel was chaired by Maggie Appleton MBE, Chief Executive of the RAF Museum. She said: “We have experienced some very tough times… but we have also seen extraordinary generosity, creativity, resilience and risk-taking.
“These awards celebrate those fabulous traits of our sector, and of the remarkable people that make it one which is such a joy to be part of.”
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