Smith Museum shortlisted for Best Small Museum Project Award

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The Stirling Smith’s ’20 Great Paintings’ project has been nominated as part of the Museums Change Lives Awards 2021.

Created in response to the coronavirus pandemic, ’20 Great Paintings’ is a book highlighting artwork from the gallery and museum on Dumbarton Road.

Heather Carroll, exhibitions and events officer explained the influence behind the project:

“When the pandemic hit, we know the only way to engage was to move online so we had an online exhibition. But we were aware that some of our most vulnerable members didn’t have internet access and so we put the book together.

 As a museum we are a repository of items showcasing the history of Stirling and this book can become a relic of the pandemic.”

The project allowed the museum to connect with the community when Covid-19 meant that it had to close its doors.

The book was designed with accessibility in mind, featuring a large font, easy-to-turn pages, and questions to encourage interactivity. Each picture was also captioned and described.

Once complete, the museum worked with local organisations to deliver copies to care homes and facilities that support isolated persons in the Stirlingshire community. This included Forth Valley Welcome, Strathcarron Hospice, and ‘Bags of Hope’.

“We knew care homes were overwhelmed physically and mentally and we hoped this would take some pressure off them. We also sent a box up to Aberdeenshire because a care home reached out to us,” said Heather.

When asked about the response to the project, Heather spoke of the “wonderful feedback” the museum received.

“It was a real struggle working from home but the feedback has been great and we’re so grateful for it.”

The Museums Change Lives Award celebrates museums making a difference in their local community.

This is the first time The Stirling Smith Museum and Art Gallery has been shortlisted.

The category the museum is nominated for recognises the best project at museums with an annual turnover of less than £320,000.

Heather describes what the recognition means for the museum:

“We’re so pleased. It’s so exciting!.Just the shortlisting alone- the recognition and the promotion of the museum, we’re so grateful for the nomination. We’re over the moon. It’s a little museum but you can still do big things.”

The Museums Change Lives Award ceremony will take place in Liverpool on Monday 8th November as part of the Museums Association’s annual conference.

Featured image credit: visitscotland.co.uk

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