Last week was very exciting for us at Hardwick Hall. We were lucky enough to attend the 2014 Derbyshire Heritage Awards, hosted at Derby Museum and Art Gallery, where we had two projects up for awards. I was really hopeful that we would come away with something in recognition of all the hard work that our amazing team does.
The evening started with sipping a glass of wine in the Art Gallery surrounded by other heritage professionals. It felt very sophisticated, and we met some really interesting people during the evening.
Our first project up for an award was the Gideon re-colourisation project, in the ‘Best Project on a Limited Budget’ category . . . and we won the highly commended award! The video shows how colourful our Gideon tapestries would have been when new, and then the fading and deterioration of one of the tapestries – 400 years of decay in just a few seconds. The judges made some lovely comments and, like us, would love to see the project expanded. It is lovely to know that other people found the project interesting, we have watched the video time and again but when the Gideon’s colours fades it never fails to make an impact. It’s such an interesting way of showing visitors why our tapestries now look the way that they do.
The next award we were up for was the ‘Inspiration Award for Best Special Project’, this category had the most entrants of all and I was suddenly quite nervous. The project we had submitted for this award was our ‘Stitches in Time’ exhibition, starring our beautiful embroidery Penelope, and I found myself crossing my fingers that we would at least get shortlisted against all these other wonderful projects, and we did!
Out of eleven entrants seven, including Hardwick, made the shortlist. The two highly commended awards were announced, and then the two winners, neither sadly was us. Then the other shortlisted entrants were called up to receive a certificate for getting that far, but Hardwick was not called out. At this point we were slightly confused but resolved to just stay quiet, when the host announced a ‘Judges Special Award for Outstanding Interpretation’ . . . for Hardwick Hall!!
We were a little bit blown away as we went to accept our second award of the evening. The judges had been so impressed with the exhibition that they had wanted to present us with a special award to appreciate the ‘near perfect’ interpretation of the project! At the end of the evening several people came up to us and said such lovely things about the project. We were told the judges loved how adventurous and well executed the project was, and how accessible and interesting the interpretation is. I was beaming from ear to ear with pride for our team.
I love the ‘Stitches in Time’ exhibition, I like to just sneak in there every so often for a quiet moment and absorb the atmosphere of the space. It is something really different to find in a Trust property, a whole ‘museum style’ exhibition focused on one (amazing) object. There is no feeling like seeing much deserved recognition for a project that you know so many people have put so much into!
A huge ‘Well Done!’ must be said to everyone who took part in creating this exhibition, from the conservators to the property staff and especially our brilliant Interpretation Officer, Sadie Scott, without who Hardwick would not have won either of these awards. Well done Chap!
For a full list of all the winners of the evening follow this link: Derbyshire Heritage Awards 2014 – Winners! Thank you to Glynn Wilton for the photographs from the evening.
Ellen Ryan, Conservation Assistant.