I have had a very exciting few days, all thanks to my amazing job, and it has left me with a little taste of what it must be like to be famous!
At the beginning of last week Hardwick was invaded by photographers, taking photos for our new guidebook! Ok so I was behind the scenes rather than in front of the camera but it was quite exciting getting our lovely Hardwick ready for her photo shoot. From what I saw of the photos this guidebook should be very good-looking! I can’t wait to see it.
Then at the end of last week I was lucky enough to go to the 2014 Derbyshire Heritage Awards, hosted at Derby Museum and Art Gallery. Hardwick had two projects entered in two different categories and I was really hopeful that we would come away with something for all the hard work that our amazing team has put in. Sipping a glass of wine in the Art Gallery surrounded by other heritage professionals felt very cool, and I met some really interesting people during the evening. The photo below is from Derbyshire Museums Twitter (@MuseumsForum).
Our first project up for an award was the Gideon re-colourisation project. It was up in the category of ‘Best Project on a Limited Budget’ . . . and we won the highly commended award! I was so excited as I followed Sadie up to collect the award! It was lovely to know that other people found the project interesting too, I have watched the video quite a few times but when the Gideon’s colours fades it never fails to make an impact. It’s such a clever visual way of telling 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 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 blow 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 create a new award to appreciate the ‘near perfect’ interpretation of the project! So many people said lots of lovely things like how adventurous and well executed the project was, I was beaming from ear to ear with pride for our team.
I love the 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!
I am still absolutely chuffed and so proud of our team, from the conservator to the property staff and especially our brilliant Interpretation Officer, Sadie, 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!
Then on Sunday I had a lovely surprise at work when I met one of the readers of my blog! This has never happened to me before and I was really humbled. Gail is a fellow blogger, runs a center for creative art and was bringing a private tour to Hardwick on sunday. It was a very surreal moment when my boss came in and told me someone who read my blogs was in the Old Kitchens and wanted to say hi! And after posing for a few photos I really felt like a bit of a celeb, even if I was somewhat lost for words!
Then on top of everything else on Monday I was filmed for TV! A film crew with BBC East Midlands came to film a segment about the anniversary of Robert Smythson’s death. They did an interview with Hardwick’s House & Collections Manager (and on of my bosses), Dr Nigel Wright, and filmed a few shots of us Conservation Assistants Dusting in the High Great Chamber. That evening it was on TV, admittedly I am only on it for a few seconds in the background, dusting the Eglantine Table, but it was very exciting all the same!
We also have some more filming happening next week as well. If my life carries on at this rate, awards evenings, photo shoots, fans and filming, I shall be on Strictly in no time! I wonder if they’ll let me keep the dresses? I am so lucky to have a career that offers such excitement, in between the dusting that is. Thanks for reading!