WINNER: The Anglo Saxon Princess Exhibition at Kirkleatham Museum, Redcar
A STUNNING collection of mid-seventh century jewellery found in a royal Anglo-Saxon burial site in the North East put Kirkleatham Museum in Redcar on the international map.
In a dig led by North East archaeologist Steve Sherlock, gold brooches were found in five high-status female graves and a sword in a male burial. Brooches and a unique and important pendant were also found in the grace of a woman believed to be an Anglo-Saxon princess.
The unexpected presence of a royal group near the Tees has opened up a new window on North East Anglo-Saxon history, raising questions of the previous view that Bamburgh and Ad Gefrin near Wooler in Northumberland were the only royal power centres in the Kingdom of Northumbria.
Laura Wedgewood, communications manager, Kirkleatham Museum, says: “It is a privilege for the museum service to be shortlisted in the Culture Awards 2011. It is also a testimony to the hard work by the council staff and local volunteers who made the discovery.
“The most pleasing aspects of the exhibition is the pride that local people have gained from the finds that are on show, indeed there is also a sense of ownership following the discovery in Redcar and Cleveland.”
FINALIST: Beamish Museum and Easington Colliery
IT was a terrible disaster that lives on in the memories of a whole community. Last year, hundreds of people young and old pulled together their experiences and tributes to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Easington pit disaster which claimed 83 lives.
Rescue worker George Ottowell, 86, was among those sharing memories of the tragedy.
His contribution formed just part of the commemorative events being organised over the past 12 months by staff at Beamish Museum.
Hundreds of schoolchildren, care home residents and community groups designed 60 silk panels which made up a special commemorative banner.
Amy Kobelis, development manager, Beamish Museum, says: “It’s absolutely fantastic that this project has been shortlisted, it’s a really great way to celebrate all the hard work and enthusiasm that everyone involved put into this poignant project. The last year has been a really exciting time at the museum. Working on projects like this really shows how powerful museums can be in bringing the past to life and allowing people to play a role in celebrating our region’s heritage.
FINALIST: Pharaoh: King of Egypt Exhibition at the Great North Museum
A SPECTACULAR display of ancient Egyptian treasures from the British Museum enjoyed a temporary home at the Great North Museum last year.
It was the first time many of the 130 objects from the British Museum’s world class ancient Egypt collection had been seen outside London. The exhibition, seen by 138,000 visitors during its 10-week stay, examined the idealised image and reality behind the rulers of the ancient kingdom across 3,000 years of history.
Sarah Glynn, museum manager, Great North Museum, says: “The opportunity to co-curate and lead this exhibition of the largest ever loan of Egyptian artefacts from the British Museum was a bit of a coup for the museum team and we were thrilled to be able to share part of the national collection with the people of the North East.”