Keep Calm and STEAM Ahead project wins major award

Posted  22.09.2017
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The National Motor Museum Trust (NMMT) at Beaulieu has won the Collections Trust Award 2017 for its Keep Calm and STEAM Ahead project which has unlocked fascinating information about collections and offered an imaginative range of family activities for visitors.

This prestigious accolade was awarded by the Collections Trust, an independent UK-based charity that works with museums, libraries, galleries and archives to improve the management and use of collections. With the theme of Pulling Together, the award recognises the achievements of those who manage museum collections and teams which often work behind the scenes and can go unnoticed.

The Collections Trust award includes £2,000 to be spent on a collections management activity, which will help to support the work of the National Motor Museum Trust in preserving Britain’s motoring heritage. The award was presented at the Collections Trust 2017 conference on September 21st.

Steampunk team meeting
A Steampunk team meeting in full swing!

Andrea Bishop, Director of Collections for the National Motor Museum, said: “The team, including our dedicated volunteers, are well-deserving of this award and I thank the Collections Trust for recognising and celebrating that.

“The Keep CALM project has been aptly named, since it has challenged us to change the way we work and manage collections behind the scenes, standardising practice to improve the exchange of ideas and information. We are now beginning to see the benefits of that legacy for our audiences and I am grateful to Arts Council England for having confidence in the value of this project for the museum and its users.”

Keep Calm and STEAM Ahead has been made possible by a successful bid to the Arts Council England Designation Development Fund, which awarded £72,800 for the National Motor Museum Trust to improve access to collections information and develop a range of fun creative educational activities to explore magical mechanisms. The project builds on the Museum’s Education Service and supports education programmes linked to STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics).

Stacey Bedingfield with the Benz Velo
Stacey Bedingfield with the Benz Velo, costume created by Arts University Bournemouth students

A creative take on STEAM has also been adopted using an Automotive Steampunk theme. This included a collection of Steampunk costumes created by Arts University Bournemouth students. Each costume was inspired by some of the museum’s iconic vehicles and the students used the Motoring Reference Library’s rich source of mechanical and motoring design history to develop their designs.

Sophie Jensen with the Gobron-Brillie Fire Engine, costume created by Arts University Bournemouth students

The stunning costumes have been display in the National Motor Museum throughout the summer holidays. NMMT team members also got into the Automotive Steampunk spirit at Beaulieu’s Hot Rod & Custom Drive-In Day event with their own imaginative costumes, holding steampunk storytelling and other activities for youngsters.

Steampunk activites
Steampunk activities at Beaulieu’s Hot Rod & Custom Drive-In Day

Behind the scenes, the project is extending the use of Axiell’s Calm collections management system at the museum and supporting research on little-used parts of the vast collections, including technical material held in the Motoring Reference Library and Object Collection. This is unlocking a wealth of material, making it accessible to the wider public for the first time.

The National Motor Museum Trust’s collection of over 250 vehicles is world-famous, along with its extensive range of motoring artefacts, photographic images, specialist reference library and film and video library. For more information about its collection and services, click here.

Visitors to Beaulieu can enjoy all of the features of the attraction including the National Motor Museum, On Screen Cars, the new-look World of Top Gear, the ancestral Montagu home Palace House, 13th century Beaulieu Abbey and grounds and gardens. Tickets can be bought in advance. For tickets or more information, click here.

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