Town's museum crowned Northamptonshire's heritage organisation of the year

Representatives from Daventry Museum with dignitaries at the Northamptonshire Heritage Forum Awards.
Representatives from Daventry Museum with dignitaries at the Northamptonshire Heritage Forum Awards.

A commemoration of Daventry's war heroes and a Victorian exhibition has helped Daventry Museum scoop a trio of titles, including the vaunted Heritage Organisation of the Year gong at a countywide awards ceremony.

Daventry Museum, in New Street, Daventry, was crowned Heritage Organisation of the Year at the Northamptonshire Heritage Forum Awards 2019 held last Thursday, July 4.

Daventry Museum's development and liaison officer Sophie Good with The Right HonEarl Spencer at the Northamptonshire Heritage Forum Awards.

Daventry Museum's development and liaison officer Sophie Good with The Right HonEarl Spencer at the Northamptonshire Heritage Forum Awards.

The museum, which is free to visit, is operated by Daventry Town Council and run by volunteers.

The council said they were delighted and the museum said they were thrilled to be recognised at the event, which showcases excellence in museums, galleries and historic houses across the county.

The awards night was held on a beautiful summer’s evening at the Grade II*-listed historic country residence Holdenby House in Northamptonshire.

As well as the blue riband Heritage Organisation of the Year title, Daventry Museum also won The Community Award for its Empty Chair Project, which brought the community together to commemorate Daventry’s 114 lost soldiers.

Each soldier was remembered and represented through a symbolic model chair made by Daventry schools and community groups. The museum thanked local war historian Gerry Thompson, whose research and support was integral to the project’s success.

To top off the evening, the town's museum also received a highly-commended award in the Best Exhibition category for its Victorian Daventry project held earlier this year. It proved to be a popular exhibition with numerous district schools and community groups visiting, and much fun had dressing up as Victorians.

Patron of the heritage forum, The Right Hon Earl Spencer, presented the award to the museum on the night.

He later tweeted: “I love being patron of the Northamptonshire Heritage Forum: this is a county with glorious houses and churches, and wonderful museums; but its real gift is an army of people passionate about approachable heritage. Overall winner: Daventry Museum for its poignant WW1 exhibition."

The awards evening was also attended by the mayor of Daventry Councillor Mike Arnold, who congratulated the museum team and added: "These awards are so well-deserved for all the exemplary work carried out by the volunteers who create such informative and exciting exhibitions year after year.

"The awards would not have been achieved without the support of the town council and the dedication and hard work from the volunteer team, who are the heart and soul of the museum."

The heritage forum said on its Facebook page: "We would like to congratulate and thank all the entrants. The judges commented on the diversity and imaginative nature of the various submissions and the presentations showed what a wonderful year 2019 was for heritage in the county."

Daventry Museum is open from 9.30am to 1.30pm from Tuesdays to Fridays, and on the first Saturday of every month between 10am and 4pm.

For more information about the museum, visit its website at daventrymuseum.org.uk
Further details for the heritage forum can be found via the website www.northamptonshireheritageforum.co.uk