My Brighton and Hove wins two international museum web awards
Best Community Site and Best Small Museum Site
By Jack Latimer
The My Brighton and Hove community archive website has won two awards in an international competition for world museum websites, competing alongside national institutions such as the Tate and the Science Museum. The Best of the Web 2008 awards in Montreal recognise ‘ the best work in museum web design and development’.
The local volunteer-run website at www.mybrightonandhove.org.uk has been running for 8 years, after its launch as part of Brighton’s Millennium celebration in 2000. Run entirely by volunteers and designed by website company www.communitysites.co.uk, the site won awards for the Best Community site and the Best Small Museum site.
CommunitySites is now setting up similar heritage sites for archives and museums around the country (such as www.livinghere.org.uk in Exeter and www.ourgreatyarmouth.org.uk) and is gearing up to develop regional networks of ‘community archive’ and ‘living history’ sites.
My Brighton and Hove collects photos, memories, knowledge and views of the city, past and present. It has grown to nearly 9,000 pages, receives 1000 visitors a day, and receives dozens of new online contributions from the public each week.
Judges picked out as an example of the living history on the site the story of the Great Omani, Brighton’s escapologist, whose story was recorded on the site before and after his death, together with tributes from family and friends. Volunteer editor Jennifer Drury, who was runner-up in the Silver Surfer of the Year competition in 2006, says: ” I feel thrilled by what we have achieved. It is very satisfying to have made such an important contribution to the city I love.”
My Brighton and Hove was founded by Jack Latimer, a multimedia designer. Together with web developer Ian Grant, he now sets up heritage websites round the country through their company www.communitysites.co.uk. Jack says: ‘It’s a fantastic honour to win these awards alongside the most famous museums in the world. It shows how the energy and enthusiasm of a group of volunteers, combined with the local knowledge and memories of a community, can create a world-class heritage resource. At CommunitySites, we’re really proud of creating the software that makes this all possible.’
The site was originally inspired by a local history exhibit in Brighton Museum called ‘My Brighton’. The Head of Brighton Museums and Royal Pavilion, Janita Bagshawe, who nominated My Brighton and Hove for the award, is delighted with the result: ‘Brighton Museum is proud to have spawned this self-sustaining heritage project for the city.’ The My Brighton and Hove website is now one of the projects run by Brighton’s not-for-profit community history publisher, QueenSpark Books.
For more information, contact Jack Latimer at firstname.lastname@example.org