Suffolk Museum of the Year awards

Hi, Em here reporting as a double award-winning Trainee!

Over the summer, Ipswich Museum ran for nominations in two categories at the annual Suffolk Museums of the Year awards (SMOTY). We put together a SMOTY team of staff from across the museum and entered into the ‘Suffolk Museum of the Year’ and ‘Object of the Year’ categories – submitting our wonderful Mammoth replica, Wool-I-Am. We chose this as we know how popular and well-loved he is, due to his size, realism and local significance.

To coincide with the awards and enable visitors to support the nomination process, we ran a Mammoth drawing competition, which received over 250 entries! We created a space for the competition entries to be displayed on rotation in the museum and gave certificates and mammoth gifts to the winner and runners up.

Luckily, we secured nominations in both categories, which was amazing news and testament to the hard work that goes on in Ipswich Museums every day from all involved. Judges from the SMOTY panel visited us to look at the work we’re doing, the events we’re running, how friendly and welcoming we are and to meet with museum staff.

On Monday 10 October, all nominated museums were invited to the University of Suffolk for the award ceremony. Stuart Green (Duty Officer and Suffolk Museum of the Year co-ordinator), Will Heppa (Museum Assistant), Joe and myself attended as the SMOTY team representatives, with Bill Seaman (Museums Manager) Eleanor Root, Mel Hollis (both Collections and Learning Curators) and Isobel Keith (Collections Information Programme Officer) joining us for the evening of celebrations.

The ‘Object of the Year’ award was voted for by the public via the Suffolk Museums website and although we fought a tough fight for the top spot, the East Anglia Transport Museum  won with their unique Half Deck Coach. Thank you to everyone that voted for Wool-I-Am, we really appreciate it and he is still a winner in our eyes!

Although we didn’t win ‘Object of the Year’, we did receive the award for ‘Learning and Access’. This was a wonderful surprise and acknowledgement of the work we have been doing at Ipswich Museum to better these areas. We were congratulated on the brilliant Training Museum programme, which is enabling access to museums for people who might not have necessarily thought about working in them, as well providing us Trainees with skills for a whole range of future job opportunities. It was also awarded to Ipswich Museum because of the innovative events we have been hosting to attract diverse audiences. This was a really positive nod towards the work Trainees and other teams have been doing to increase access and visibility at our museums.

Suffolk Museum of the Year award winners:

Southwold Museum – Suffolk Museum of the Year

East Anglia Transport Museum – Object of the Year Award

Long Shop Museum – Special Family Friendly Award

Felixstowe Museum and Dunwich Museum – joint winners of the Judges’ Merit Award


Thank you to all of our wonderful visitors for voting for us in both categories, the SMOTY awards for acknowledging our work and everyone at Ipswich Museums for the brilliant things you do – keep up the good work! Lets hope for more nominations and awards next year!

Em 🙂


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