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Tullie takes home two National Archaeology Awards

Elsa Price (Left) and Gabrielle Heffernan (right) accepting the awards on half of Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery

Tullie House has won two awards at the Society for Museum Archaeology Conference this year for excellence in exhibitions and research.

The Society of Museum Archaeology held their 2019 conference at the Grosvenor Museum in Chester. There were various categories to enter within ‘Exhibition, Display or Interpretation Project’ and ‘Collections Research’.

The new Prehistory gallery at Tullie House, Origins: Rediscovering Cumbrian Prehistory beat stiff competition from national museums to scoop the ‘Exhibition, Display or Interpretation Project’ award, with judges praising its “hugely admirable approach and results on a limited budget.” The new gallery provides a fresh approach to Cumbrian prehistory by rooting objects in the local landscapes. It also includes digital installations and tactile displays, where visitors can touch real archaeological objects, and a sound shower which encourages people to listen to the sounds of prehistory.

The international research partnership between Tullie House and Sapienza University in Rome also impressed judges on the ‘Collections Research’ award panel. They commented that it “shows huge future potential for research and demonstrates that museums can be key in developing international links. Very impressive!”. The partnership is in its second year and allows postgraduate students of the University, which is one of the most prestigious in Italy, to have uninterrupted access to the Hadrian’s Wall collections and in-house curatorial expertise at Tullie House. So far over 10 students have visited and stayed for up to 3 months to study areas of the museum’s Roman collections. These included Samian vessels, decorated lamps and the nationally significant leather shoe collection, which is one of the largest in the UK. The judges also commented that the partnership was “a good sector example” and “an incredible project partnership.”

Anna Smalley, Head of Collections and Engagement at Tullie House, says “We’re thrilled to receive two such important awards from the Society for Museum Archaeology. They really highlight the excellent work that the museum is doing across our archaeology collection, both as a centre of research and as a community organisation that shares our wonderful collections with our visitors through innovative and exciting gallery displays.”

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