Museum hopes for award win

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A NORTHUMBERLAND museum has been shortlisted for a national award for its work with young people.

Ashington’s Woodhorn Museum has been shortlisted for the 10th Museum and Heritage Awards for Best Educational Initiative, for its work with Time Travel Northumberland, a youth participation project linked to the 2012 Olympic Games.

Time Travel Northumberland is one of 15 youth participation projects in the north east receiving funding from NE-Generation, the Legacy Trust UK regional programme, creating a lasting impact from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games by funding ideas and local talent to inspire creativity across the UK.

The museum is up against The National Archives, The Science Museum, Historic Royal Palaces and Epping Forest’s Open Spaces project for the national honour, which will be presented at an awards ceremony in London on Wednesday, May 16.

Juliet Hardy, creative mentor and project coordinator, said: “Time Travel Northumberland has blown the dust off local history for a lot of young people and given them inspiration to look into their past and the history of their area and come up with creative ways to show other young people the value of what they have learnt.”

The project was set up in May 2010 and has been delivering creative cultural activities inspired by the archives – lead by young people for young people.

One of the group’s activities was 1840s Big Brother, where 24 teenagers were transported back in time to spend four days living in Northumberland’s Featherstone Castle, dressing, working and living as their ancestors would have done 170 years ago.

Stripped of phones, iPods and hair straighteners their only contact with technology was with a film crew that were documenting the experience.

In August, Time Travel Northumberland will again host Heritage Big Brother, this time taking the group back in time to 1940s war-time England, where they will encounter rationing, the threat of bombing and invasion and exploring domestic activities of the time.

The young planning crew who organised 1840s Big Brother, will also be planning the first re-enactment of The Morpeth Olympics – a professional games involving mainly athletics and wrestling – since the event was stopped in 1958.

Ben Ayrton, programme manager for NE-Generation, said: “Time Travel Northumberland shows that it is possible for the north east’s cultural sector to work with young people to achieve something remarkable and create a lasting cultural legacy.

“I doubt any of the time travellers will forget their work with this project or what life was like in the 1840s and 1940’s in Northumberland.”