Acton Scott Historic Working Farm have won the 2016 Marsh Trust Award for Volunteers in Museum Learning for the West Midlands region in recognition of the Fleece Barn project.
The award celebrates the achievements and contribution of volunteers in museums, galleries and heritage sites across the United Kingdom and recognises their dedication, innovation and excellence in engaging with the public (British Museum, 2017).
Lezley Picton, Shropshire Council cabinet member for culture and leisure, said:
“Winning the prestigious Marsh Award for the West Midlands region is a fantastic achievement for Acton Scott Historic Working and gives fully deserved recognition of all of the hard work and dedication shown by the Fleece Barn Volunteers in driving this great project forward.”
Sue Prestwood, volunteer on the Fleece Barn project, said:
”We were all stunned to be nominated and then to win the regional award. When we realised the standard of entries we were truly amazed. Volunteering at Acton Scott has been and continues to be both enjoyable and educational to us all. The public are so diverse in their interest and we learn as much from them as they do from us.”
Joanna Mackle, Deputy Director of the British Museum, said:
“Museums across the UK rely on the contribution of volunteers to ensure they reach and inspire as many people as possible. The Marsh Awards recognise the commitment and enthusiasm of volunteers in museums and we are very grateful to the Marsh Christian Trust for acknowledging this work.”
As reward for winning the Marsh Award for the West Midlands region, the Fleece Barn Volunteers received a cheque for £500 at the award ceremony in London. The money is to be reinvested into the Fleece Barn exhibition at Acton Scott Historic Working Farm.
The Marsh Trust Awards are coordinated by the British Museum and the Marsh Christian Trust and are in their ninth year.
The Acton Scott ‘Fleece Barn’ Volunteers Project
At the beginning of 2016, Acton Scott Historic Working Farm were approached by a volunteer about the use of a newly empty room on the farmyard.
Members of the Shrewsbury Guild for Spinners, Weavers and Dyers suggested we turn the room into an exhibition for all things fleece related. They gave up a lot of their time to re-fit the room and have turned it into a beautiful exhibit for Acton Scott. But that’s not all, they take it in turns to volunteer in the Fleece Barn and demonstrate the use of the spinning wheels, looms etc. and provide opportunities for our visitors to ‘have a go’ at many different craft activities relating to yarn and fleece.
In 2016, and again recently, the volunteers put on a special event weekend named Fleece to Fibre. A few of Acton Scott’s sheep are sheered using bicycle powered sheers, the volunteers then clean and grade the wool, card it and spin it.
At the end of the weekend there are balls of yarn to be seen that have come from our very own Shropshire Sheep. During the rest of the year these will be woven or knitted into lovely items to view and buy.
The Fleece Barn team have created a beautiful and educational exhibit at Acton Scott and really help to tell the story of farming through the ages. They have become valuable members of the Acton Scott team and provide a wonderful service for visitors.
Acton Scott would like to thank the Fleece Barn Volunteers for their hard work, dedication and enthusiasm in bringing this project to fruition.
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The Fleece Barn Volunteers