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
In celebration of the Heritage Open Days, Shropshire Museums and Archives are waiving entry fees and putting on special events to create a unique visitor experience.
Running from Thursday 7 September until Sunday 10 September 2017, Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery, Shrewsbury Castle, Shropshire Archives and Acton Scott Historic Working Farm, are each offering free entry and special events to visitor.
Lezley Picton, Shropshire Council Cabinet member for Culture and Leisure, said:
“Heritage Open Days is the largest heritage festival in the UK so it’s great to see Shropshire Museums and Archives getting involved.
“As well as the amazing things to see and do at each site, visitors will get to go behind the scenes and see and do things that are only available a very limited number of times a year.
“I’d encourage everyone to make the most of this great opportunity and get to our sites… and it’s free!”
Loyd Grossman, Patron of Heritage Open Days, said:
“At a time when many of our heritage sites, museums and buildings of cultural interest are under increasing economic pressure it’s heart-warming to see the number of Heritage Open Days events continue to grow. Our army of volunteers play an important role in championing our wonderfully diverse local heritage, opening up doors and keeping access free for these very special four days every year. We are keen to encourage people to stand up for the places that are important to them by bringing to life their stories for everyone to enjoy.”
Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery
On Sunday 10 September, visitors to Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery will be able to enter for FREE and see the amazing collections telling over 750 years of history in Shrewsbury and Shropshire.
Usually £4.50 for adults, you will get to see some of the best preserved mammoth bones in the UK, one of the finest geology collections as well an entry to Antarctica: Life in a hostile land and Synthetic Landscapes.
Guided town tours
As well free access to the Museum’s galleries on Sunday 10 September, you can explore the Medieval town of Shrewsbury on a free guided town tour, which usually cost £7.50. Advanced booking is advised to ensure your place.
Tour dates and times
Thursday 7 September: 2pm
Friday 8 September: 2pm
To book your place on one of these free guided town tours, call 01743 258888.
Your chance to see behind the scenes at Shropshire Archives including the stores where over 5 miles (9 kilometres!) of records are housed in environmentally controlled conditions as well as the conservation and reprographics sections. A selection of our fantastic collections will also be on show including the recently conserved minute books of Much Wenlock Borough dating from 1495-1810.
Tour dates and times
Thursday 7 September: 2pm
Friday 8 September: 2pm
Pre-booking is essential. To book your place call 0345 678 9096 or email [email protected].
Sunday 10 September will see a rare occurrence at Shrewsbury Castle… the opening of Laura’s Tower.
Open one day a year for the Heritage Open Days festival, making your way to the top of Laura’s Tower will give you truly unique views across Shrewsbury making it a special opportunity not to be missed.
Visitors will also be able to enter the Castle Grounds and Shrewsbury Castle housing Shropshire Regimental Museum for FREE.
Acton Scott Historic Working Farm
With its’ of range of young and adult farm animals, working farm demonstrations and much more, Acton Scott Historic Working Farm is a perfect family day out. And… on Saturday 9 September, it’s FREE.
As well as free admission, the Farm is also holding extra demonstrations and behind the scenes guided tours so you can learn more about the workings of a Victorian Farm, and maybe, just maybe, get a little closer to the baby animals!
For more information, call 01694 781307 or email [email protected].
Ludlow Museum & Resource Centre
Enjoy a free 20 minute talk about the ‘Treasure’ acquired by Shropshire Museums through the Treasure Act. This talk focuses on artefacts held in the stores at Ludlow Museum Resource Centre and you’ll have the chance to hold some of the amazing treasures.
Saturday 9 September, 11 am – 12 noon
Following the talk you’ll have the chance to visit the Geology Store and view Shropshire’s other giant treasure, the MAMMOTH!
About Heritage Open Days
Heritage Open Days is the largest heritage festival in the country; in 2015, over 4,800 events welcomed around three million visitors across England.
Heritage Open Days operates as part of the National Trust with funding from players of People’s Postcode Lottery.
Clara Govier, Head of Charities at People’s Postcode Lottery, said:
“This is the second year that players have supported Heritage Open Days, which continues to grow, not only in the number of events, but the diversity and quality of activities right across England. We look forward to seeing thousands of people sharing the hidden histories on their doorstep and making a difference to their communities this September.”