The Coffin Works achieves ‘Highly Commended’ in the category of ‘Team of the Year’ at the Museum + Heritage Awards!
You could say they were small fish in a big pond, as the Coffin Works’ Staff Team were up against the likes of the British Museum and UK Parliament, but nevertheless they flew the flag for Brum and brought the accolade home.
National Museum Liverpool came away as the overall winner in the category, showcasing the work of their housekeeping team.
This award recognised the work that goes on behind the scenes, specifically celebrating teams that aren’t front facing. The Coffin Works’ staff team are exactly that: they are not the face of our museum, but they are its backbone. They have cultivated a family environment where everyone is welcome, and they are the reason the volunteer retention and recruitment is the highest since the museum first opened in 2014.
Often, it’s easy to forget about the paid staff because they are exactly that: paid for what they do. But, in fact, this young team are running and rebuilding one of the most successful heritage attractions in the Midlands and working beyond their hours to do so.
Signs of their success? They’ve increased their earned turnover by 34% in the last year! One of their most exciting ventures in 2022 was the addition of a museum café, after securing funding to transform their meeting room into a visitor café, now generating an additional £7,500 per year. In 2022 they increased museum admissions by 50% and donations were up by 35%! This is all in a climate where visitor numbers are down nationally, energy bills are up, and amidst a cost-of-living crisis.
Sarah Hayes, Museum Manager said:
“There’s so much this team does behind the scenes that never gets talked about, but is vital to running a successful business. It’s also the stuff that doesn’t make it to social media, because well, balancing the books is a social media post that doesn’t ‘pack a punch’ as far as engagement content is concerned. But, without a doubt, there is a lot of passion and resilience in this team, which is complemented by the seamless dedication from its volunteers and trustees, who all together are the dream team!”
Richard Garside, Chair of Trustees said:
“It’s absolutely brilliant news to see that the team have been ‘Highly Commended’ in the Team of the Year category at the Museums + Heritage Awards 2023. Huge congratulations and pats on the back to them! It’s above and beyond achieving such a prestigious national award. We’re all in awe.”
The Awards are open to all museums, galleries, archives, and cultural and heritage organisations, both digital and in-person. Entrants are from all areas of the cultural sector; from organisations that connect objects, stories and spaces with audiences and people, as well as the individuals, companies and organisations which support their work. Among the 18 awards at this year’s ceremony was: Innovator of the Year, Volunteer of the Year, Sustainable Project of the Year, and the newly introduced Team of the Year.
Anna Preedy, Director of Museums + Heritage Awards commented:
“What is particularly wonderful about the Museums + Heritage Awards is the vast and varied range of organisations represented on our shortlist – from large, national museums to small, local heritage organisations and everything in between. The Awards provide a rare opportunity to recognise and celebrate the determined, confident, and creative work of our extraordinary sector and are the ultimate stamp of approval!”