Hengistbury Head Visitor Centre has won the inaugural M+H Show Fund of £1,000, which was launched at this year’s Museums + Heritage Show, ahead of dozens of visitor entries from across the sector. Scheduled as an Ancient Monument, Hengistbury Head is of international importance in terms of its archaeology and the visitor centre has evidence of human activity going back 12,000 years. Many of its artefacts will now be properly catalogued and as part of the digitisation project it aims to transfer them to a purpose-built storage facility and make them accessible to the widest possible audience both physically and virtually.

Supported by partners Bournemouth University, Arts University Bournemouth and Russell Cotes Museum, and a dedicated team of volunteers, the visitor centre plans to digitise more than 10,000 objects and make them available through its website and on site study stations to the general public.

Councillor Lawrence Williams, Cabinet Member for Tourism, Leisure and the Arts, said: “This is fantastic news. Our team at Hengistbury Head Visitor Centre are thrilled to learn that we have won a £1000 grant towards our digital project. We are already introducing 100,000 visitors a year to our fantastic collections at the centre but with this additional money we can bring our ambition to life and open up our important collection to a worldwide online audience. Thank you Museum + Heritage Show for helping to make this possible!”

The £1,000 will go towards the necessary equipment to set up a dedicated workstation for students and volunteers, giving them the necessary resources needed to make the digitisation happen. The visitor centre has also developed a new school programmes linked to the national curriculum for history, geography and citizenship for Key Stages 1-4, which will engage new audiences.

Anna Preedy Director of Museums + Heritage Show said: “It is a fantastic and ambitious project that will make a real difference in enabling the team to reach and expand their audience in new ways.”

Staff will now begin creating the workstation as well as train and support the students and volunteers. The team now has the funds in place to pay for a student from Bournemouth University’s Media School to work on the planned facial reconstruction of the Hengistbury Woman, a partial Bronze Age skeleton, which will be central to an existing new display of associated artefacts.

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