Acton Scott Historic Working Farm win prestigious Marsh Award

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.

An image of a lady standing at a podium announcing Acton Scott Historic Working Farm as the winner of the Marsh Award 2016 for the West Midlands. There is a picture of staff from the farm on a large screen behind the lady.

Acton Scott Historic Working Farm announced as winners of the Marsh Award for the West Midlands at the ceremony in London.

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.”

An image of eight of the volunteers in the Fleece Barn at Acton Scott Historic Working Farm.

The Fleece Barn Volunteers at Acton Scott Historic Working Farm

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.

An image of the inside of the Fleece Barn at Acton Scott Historic Working Farm. The brick walls are exposed with a window letting in plenty of light. There is wool spinning equipment in the barn.

Inside the Fleece Barn at Acton Scott Historic Working Farm

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.

An image of a lady working in the Fleece Barn at Acton Scott Historic Working Farm

Fleece Barn Volunteer at work

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.

An image of lady spinning wool in a barn at Acton Scott Historic Working Farm

One of the Fleece Barn volunteers at work

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.

For more information about Acton Scott Historic Working Farm, click here. Alternatively, you can email or call 01694 781307.

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The Fleece Barn Volunteers
Ann Lloyd
Sue Prestwood
Margaret Tremellen
Jean Huff
Caroline Oaks
Joan Bellamy

An image of the Fleece Barn volunteers who consist of six ladies, Acton Scott facility manager Sarah Green and two men.

Depressed Cake Shop Pops Up in Shrewsbury

Local cafes and bakers have been challenged to create delicious grey cakes for an upcoming event, a Depressed Cake Shop, aiming to get people talking about mental health.

Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery, in partnership with Shropshire Mind, will be hosting a Depressed Cake Shop on Tuesday 10 October from 11am-2pm at Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery, The Square, Shrewsbury, SY1 1LH.An image of a grey cake with a multi-coloured inside with a banner at the top advertising the depress cake shop at Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery on Tuesday 10 October from 11am until 2pm.

The pop-up will take place on World Mental Health Day and will be raising funds for Shropshire Mind (Reg. Charity No. 1003117)

Many of Shrewsbury’s cafes and bakeries have volunteered to bake for the event – with one proviso – all of the baked goods on sale will have an element of grey to signify the grey cloud that can descend over someone who is struggling with mental health issues.

Stop. Coffee Shop, Ginger & Co and O’Joy are among the many bakers whose delicious and poignant treats will be on sale.

Everyone is welcome at the event.

Fay Bailey of Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery, said:

“Shrewsbury has a wealth of baking talent and we are very excited to see how that creativity will be put to use to make ‘depressed’ yet delicious grey cakes, while at the same time raising funds for Shropshire Mind and raising awareness of an increasingly important issue.”

Lezley Picton, Shropshire Council Cabinet member for Culture and Leisure, said:

“Museums are diverse places so it’s great that Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery are working with local charities such as Shropshire Mind and local businesses to become even more inclusive to all, while at the same time raising awareness of an important and relevant subject through the Depressed Cake Shop.”

Heather Ireland, Manager at Shropshire Mind said:

“Approximately one in four people in the UK experience a mental health problem each year.

That is why we want to use World Mental Health Day to raise awareness of these issues here on our doorstep in Shropshire.”

The Depressed Cake Shop movement was started in London in 2013 as a unique way to raise awareness of mental health issues as well as raise money for mental health charities.

It has become an international phenomenon, with Depressed Cake Shops popping up across the world in the UK, USA, Malaysia, Australia, India – and now Shrewsbury.

The movement has raised more than £78,000 for mental health charities around the world.

The pop-up is part of a series of events aimed at welcoming new visitors to Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery.

Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery partner with Shrewsbury High School for week long exhibition

Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery are delighted to be partnering with Shrewsbury High School for an exhibition of artwork from some of the High School’s talented artists.

Running from Wednesday 27 September – Wednesday 4 October 2017, the exhibition will feature work from students past and present, as well as work produced by pupils across Shropshire in special art masterclasses.

An image of an A Level student at work on her painting. The painting will feature in the exhibition at Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery by Shrewsbury High School.

A Level student Katie Crabtree

The exhibition is free to the public and not only features GCSE, A-level and Alumnae artwork, but will also exhibit work produced at workshops and masterclasses throughout the week by pupils from schools across the county. Head of Art at Shrewsbury High School, Mark Warner, will be hosting a Scholars’ masterclass for High School Art Scholars on Friday 29 September and their work will then be entered into the main exhibition.

Renowned equine artist Mary Herbert from the Society of Equestrian Artists will be running a bespoke art workshop on Saturday 30 September, free of charge, for GCSE art students from across Shropshire.

An image of a painting by Mary Herbert of a brown horse with a person on it's back. The horse has a red plaited mane. The painting will feature in the exhibition at Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery curated by Shrewsbury High School

Renowned Equine Artist Mary Herbert will be holding a free public talk on Saturday 30 September at 2pm.

Work produced at this workshop will then be on display in the Exhibition Hall from 30 September until 4 October.

This is a wonderful opportunity for GCSE pupils to add to their GCSE art work and learn some valuable skills from an established artist. If you are a GCSE art student and would like to attend this workshop, or if you are an art teacher and have GCSE pupils who you think would benefit from this workshop, please contact Emily Brick at the details below.

Mary, who specialises in pastel paintings of animals, will follow this masterclass on Saturday 30 September with a talk and showcase of her equestrian art which will run from 2 – 2.45pm.

This talk is free to the public and is a wonderful opportunity to hear about Mary’s career as a professional artist, working on portrait commissions and exhibiting around the UK and to see some of her beautiful paintings. Stay and enjoy Mary’s exhibition until 6pm.

For more details about the GCSE Masterclass by Mary Herbert on Saturday 30 September (10am – 1pm) please email

To book tickets (free of charge) for Mary Herbert’s talk on Saturday 30 September (2pm – 2.45pm) please email


Poetry Reading by Gillian Clarke at Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery

Join us at Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery on Friday 29 September 2017 for the book launch of Gillian Clarke’s amazing new collection, ‘Zoology’.

An image of the front cover of Gillian Clarke's new collection, Zoology. The image features a photo of a hare.

Gillian Clarke’s amazing new collection, Zoology

Doors open at 6pm with the poetry reading beginning at 7.30pm.

Zoology will be available for you to purchase following the reading with an opportunity to even have your copy signed.

Refreshments will be available from 6pm and you will also have the chance to look around four of the amazing museum galleries prior to the poetry reading.

If this is enough to whet the appetite, the evening also features readings from local talent, Liz Lefroy.

Tickets for this event cost just £7.50.

If you are a season ticket holder at the Museum, a Friend of Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery or an Art Fund Member, you can purchase a ticket at the reduced rate of £4.50.

Although tickets can be purchased on arrival, spaces are limited so it is recommended that you book your place in advance to avoid possible disappointment.

Gillian Clarke is the longest serving National Poet of Wales holding the role from 2008-2016 and is widely recognised for increasing the profile of the prestigious role.

“There is no gaudiness in her poetry; instead the reader is aware of a generosity of spirit which allows the poems’ subjects their own unbullied reality”. – The Listener

National Poet of Wales, Ifor ap Glyn, said:

“Gillian has taken the role of National Poet to new heights during her tenure, and I’d like to thank her for her tireless efforts in promoting Welsh poetry and literature at home and on the international stage.”(

This reading is the first of a new series that will take place on the last Friday of each month at Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery with a range of exciting local and national talents already lined up.

For more information about this reading or to book, please visit us at the Visitor Information Centre at Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery or call 01743 258885.