The Museums + Heritage Awards for Excellence are now in their 15th year and offer all cultural organisations, regardless of size, the opportunity to be recognised and celebrated for the quality of their work. There are a total of 11 categories for 2017, including the return of the free Volunteer(s) of the Year Award.

Following the huge success of this award in 2016 there were two winners crowned on the night – Volunteer Team and Individual Volunteer of the Year. Team of the Year went to the Volunteers at RNLI Henry Blogg Museum who showed their grit and determination under incredibly difficult circumstances and the Inidividual prize went to another very deserving winner – Bobby Ogogo from the Horniman Museum & Gardens who expressed his thanks and how much of a privilege it was to be nominated.

With many heritage organisations continually relying on volunteers, both young and old, to provide essential assistance from the day-to-day running of an organisation to hands on support for special projects, the Museums + Heritage Awards team, along with AIM – which represents 1,200 independent museums and more than 100,000 volunteers – is launching the new award in recognition of their efforts.

The entry process for the Volunteer of the Year Award 2017 is different to other Museums + Heritage Award categories, there is no entry fee and all it requires is completion of a simple form with the nomination details, which can be found here. Museums and heritage attractions can nominate an individual or an entire team by briefly explaining the difference they have made to a specific museum, gallery or heritage attraction, The deadline for nominations for this award is the same as the other 10 categories 1 February 2017.

The Association of Independent Museums is once again partnering this award on behalf of all its members and the wider community of heritage organisations out there who are supported by an incredible number of volunteers every year. In these particularly challenging times many of these organisations could not exist without the dedication and commitment of these individuals and they deserve to be recognised and celebrated and this free award is the perfect opportunity to do so

Tamalie Newbery, Executive Director, AIM

The other 10 categories for the Museum + Heritage Awards 2017 are also now open for entries for projects completed between January and December 2016. The awards continue to generate public recognition for the winners and shortlistees, and have been instrumental in helping many to secure funding and support from key stakeholders. Award winners have also enjoyed recognition both locally and further afield as the awards increasingly gain an international profile.

Last year’s winners included Victoria and Albert Museum as Best Temporary or Touring Exhibition for Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty and Natural History Museum walking away with the Innovation prize for their work with David Attenborough, Project on a Limited Budget went to the very deserving Oxford University Museum of Natural History for their clever, fun and engaging idea – Dodo Roadshow. On top of that the Oxford University Museum of Natural History also walked away with Best of the Best Award on the night.

Awards director Anna Preedy said the awards matter as they are a direct endorsement by senior industry colleagues whose opinions really count. “Cost-effectiveness is at the heart of these awards as is creativity and resourcefulness and entries are welcome from everyone,” said Preedy. “So, if you work in a local authority museum, a national or independent museum, a gallery or a heritage or cultural visitor attraction or perhaps you are a supplier to this sector, this is your chance to have your hard work recognised. Good luck to everyone!”

The deadline for entries is 1 February 2017 and hundreds of submissions are expected from museum and heritage attractions across the UK and overseas battling it out for one of these prestigious Awards.

Once the deadline has passed, entries will be whittled down to a shortlist by the esteemed panel of judges made up of seven sector leading lights who will consider every entry and look for evidence of ‘outcome, creativity, relation to objective and cost effectiveness’.

As well as the Volunteer(s) of the Year Award, there are a total of 11 categories to enter:

Permanent Exhibition sponsored by Martello Media
Temporary or Touring Exhibition
Educational Initiative sponsored by schoolzone
Project on a Limited Budget
Innovation sponsored by The Hub
Marketing Campaign sponsored by Volunteer Makers
Trading & Enterprise supported by ACE
International Award sponsored by Securitas UK
Restoration or Conservation
Fundraisers of the Year

The award winners will be announced at a glittering ceremony at the historic staterooms of 8 Northumberland Avenue on 17 May 2017, where more than 300 industry professionals will converge in the heart of London to find out who has triumphed.

To enter the awards download the submission criteria and entry form from the Museums + Heritage website.

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