Marsh Volunteers for Museum Learning Award

2012 - Erene Grieve and Nathan Lightowler - National Winners

Erene Grieve

Erene has been running the Stamps in Schools project as a volunteer with the Learning and Access team at the British Postal Museum and Archive for the past seven years. She leads workshops which introduce pupils to the history of stamps, and the idea of starting their own stamp collection. This project is a great way in which children can engage with objects from the museum in an interactive way, an experience which is accentuated by Erene’s fun and creative methods of teaching. As a retired teacher and stamp collector, Erene thoroughly enjoys sharing her knowledge with primary school children and has run workshops in over 400 primary schools throughout the UK, reaching between 15,000 and 20,000 pupils a year.

As well as delivering workshops, Erene has led school assemblies and provides assistance to teachers wishing to start a stamp club. She has also helped increase the circulation of the Museum’s free learning resources through the use of its learning packs which are available to teachers. The Stamps in Schools project and in particular Erene’s work has received great feedback from schools, teachers and children who have been motivated to begin their own stamp collections often with the help of their grandparents.

Nathan Lightowler

Nathan is a volunteer with the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland (RPSI) and has been responsible for the bulk of work involved in the restoration of the compound steam locomotive No.85 Merlin. Having joined the organisation five years ago, at the age of 18 he made it his mission to get No.85 back on the rails, making it the only compound locomotive which can be steamed and operated for the public in the UK.

Nathan has spent hundreds of hours at Whitehead working on the No.85, chipping off carbon, cleaning, cataloguing, repairing and assembling working part, and much more. His aims in restoring No.85 have been to share his passion for this unique steam locomotive with the pubic, by allowing them to experience it in operation. Thanks to Nathan, No.85 will soon be ready to travel the length and breadth of the rail network in Ireland, enabling people to experience the thrill of travelling on a mainline steam train hauled by this unique locomotive.

Nathan has created a focus on No.85 with is enthusiasm for this project. He has introduced new volunteers to work on this engine and has involved other members of the RPSI’s Youth Team, through a ‘Friday Night slot’ which allows Youths to go to work on the engine.

Regional Winners

This year there were 10 regional Awards as the East and West Midlands regions were combined, as were the Wales and Northern Ireland regions. The Award for the South West was divided between two winners.

Scotland – Eilidh Lawrence from the Scottish Fisheries Museum. She is a young volunteer who has been responsible for setting up a ‘time travelling journalists’ workshop for school pupils.

North East - Stephanie Sutherland Bramley from the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art. She has made a huge contribution to engage families and children with contemporary art.

North West - Irving Czechowicz from The Manchester Museum. He is a volunteer who has made a significant contribution to visitors’ experience at the museum.

Northern Ireland & Wales - Nathan Lightowler Railway Preservation Society of Ireland

London - Erene Grieve from The British Postal Museum & Archive

East and West Midlands - Morgan Jones from Compton Verney. He has contributed his academic knowledge and long-term interest in ancient China to the historic Chinese collections at the museum.

Yorkshire - The Barley Hall Servants Team from The Barley Hall. This group of volunteers have been responsible for creating a living history, which involves a medieval kitchen and volunteers dressed in medieval costume, at the reconstructed medieval townhouse in York.

East of England- Young Events Volunteers from Norwich Castle Museum. They are a group of 9 young volunteers aged 16-24, who chose the theme of Skin for an event for the Cultural Olympiad, linking this to the taxidermy displays, paintings and vintage fur collections at the museum.

South East - The Normandy Veteran’s Society from D-Day Museum. They are a group of Normandy Veterans who have volunteered at the museum for over a decade.

South West - Joint-winners

The ‘Uncovering Volunteers Team from The Holburne Museum. They are a group of volunteers who have been responsible for opening the museum doors to the exhibition of magnificent baroque furniture.

The Young Explainers Volunteers Team from Plymouth City Museum & Art Gallery. They are a group of volunteers who have created the ‘Unlocking Eastlake’ project aimed at promoting Sir Charles Eastlake as a prominent historical figure.

Pictured above:
Nathan Lightowler restoring the No.85, Erene Grieve running a Stamps for Schools Workshop, Morgan Jones at Compton Verney, The Normandy Veteran’s Society at D-Day Museum and a tattoo artist carrying out live tattooing as part on the ‘Skin’ event put on by the Young Events Volunteers from Norwich Castle Museum.
Photographs credited to Benedict Johnson


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