Bassetlaw Museum and the volunteers who were part of the Wampanoag Perspective Project have been recognised by the British Museum and the Marsh Charitable Trust.
The 2021 ‘Volunteers for Museum Learning’ awards celebrate the work and achievements of museum volunteers across the UK, and Bassetlaw Museum were winners in the East Midlands category for their unique cultural exchange that shared the Wampanoag Nation and Native American history and traditions, and their links to the Mayflower Pilgrims.
The project involved volunteers leading and assisting with several educational sessions for children across Bassetlaw, as well as cultural displays and performances that allowed people to learn about Native American Culture, our shared history and watch the assembly of a Wetu, which is still in place in the grounds of Bassetlaw Museum.
Representatives from Bassetlaw Museum and volunteers who worked on the project collected their award during a ceremony at the British Museum in London in November and Sam Glasswell, Curator of Bassetlaw Museum, said: “The Wampanoag Perspective was a wonderful project to be involved in and brought to life a more balanced story associated with the Mayflower Pilgrims and the Wampanoag people.
“Getting nearly 600 children engaged in dynamic learning over the course of four days was an astonishing achievement made possible by our outstanding team of volunteers. I’d like to thank them all for their involvement, as well as the officers who worked tirelessly in the lead up to and during the project. This national recognition is well-deserved.”
The British Museum and the Marsh Charitable Trust have been working in partnership for the 14th year of the ‘Volunteers for Museum Learning’ award, which recognises the hugely important contribution that volunteers make to help museums engage with their visitors. Celebrating the time volunteers have given in the previous year is particularly pertinent as teams and individuals helped their museums and heritage sites recover from the pandemic.
The aim of the award is to recognise those volunteers who engage directly with museum visitors in any capacity. This could involve leading a school group, staffing an information desk, helping with family activities, running a guided tour or any number of other ways in which volunteers provide support to museum visitors.
The Wampanoag Perspective Project, led by Bassetlaw District Council and funded by the Arts Council and Nottinghamshire County Council allowed visitors to the museum the opportunity to learn about Native American culture from some of the direct relatives of those who first encountered the Pilgrims as they arrived in Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1620.
Councillor James Naish, Leader of Bassetlaw District Council, said: “This was a ground-breaking project that would not have been possible without the support and contributions of an amazing team of volunteers. It was a special week that added another dimension to our links to the Mayflower Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Nation, which was brought to life by everyone who was part of this now award-winning project.”
The ‘Volunteers for Museum Learning’ award forms part of a programme of awards presented by the Marsh Charitable Trust in the fields of science, ecology, conservation, heritage, literature and volunteering. Each one of these awards recognises individuals and organisations who devote their lives to improving the world today and in the future. The Marsh Awards programme is managed in association with key partners including the Zoological Society of London, English Heritage, Barnardo’s, the Refugee Council and the British Museum.
The winners will each receive a cash prize of £500, donated by the Marsh Charitable Trust. The one overall national winner receives an additional £2,000.