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Creswell Crags shortlisted at Museums and Heritage awards

10th July 2017
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Community Focus

On Wednesday 17th May, three members of staff from Creswell Crags headed down to London to attend one of the biggest awards ceremony in the sector — the ‘Museums and Heritage Awards’. This is a national event in its 15th year, with finalists from small charity-led organisations such as Creswell Heritage Trust right up to National attractions such as the Natural History Museum, National Museums Scotland, Museums of London, the National Trust and many more.

The categories ranged from exhibitions, recognising volunteers, and restoration as well as marketing which is the award that Creswell were shortlisted for. The marketing campaign being recognised was “Craggy Elf”, which involved a visit from a cheeky cave elf called “Craggy”, who visited the Crags at Christmas and got up to mischief by hiding in the caves. Families flocked from afar to come and look for him, with children receiving a sweet and a sticker if they could prove they had spotted him.

Rachel Wood, Marketing Manager for Creswell Crags, said; “To get shortlisted from the hundreds of entries that were received was a huge achievement for us and it was the first time we have ever been up for a national award. We are all very proud of Craggy Elf and we are looking forward to his much anticipated return in December”.

The awards were held in central London at the prestigious ‘8 Northumberland Avenue’ which is a Victorian listed building a few feet away from Trafalgar Square.

Museums and Heritage awards judge, trustee of Kids in Museums and CEO of ALVA (Association of Leading Visitor Attractions) Bernard Donoghue opened the ceremony with a powerful speech, highlighting Craggy Elf as a leading example.

He said; “Out of all the shortlisted nominees — from the biggest global museums to organisations with properties in every part of the UK — the example of ‘Craggy Elf’ stood out. The judges loved its success, its humour, its sense of fun and its amazing results. For us it showed that creativity doesn’t have to come with a big budget attached. You can be clever, effective and successful if you’re creative and take a leap of faith. That’s why we highlighted it at the awards ceremony. And now we want to visit!”

Creswell Crags didn’t win their category, it was won by 1 to 18 NOW, a national campaign marking 100 years since the Battle of the Somme. On 1st July last year, throughout the day, some 1,600 volunteers, all men, dressed in replica World War I British army uniforms, appeared in groups at railway stations, shopping centres and other places.
Each volunteer represented an individual, named, soldier who died on the first day of the battle. When approached, they did not speak, but instead handed cards to members of the public, bearing the name, age and regiment of the person they represented, and the hashtag #wearehere.

The campaign reached over 300 million people worldwide and was later broadcast on the BBC on Remembrance Day.
For Craggy Elf from Creswell Crags to even be in the same running as an event like that is a remarkable achievement.
All was not lost though, because they did win “Best Selfie” award for their slightly bonkers selfie with Craggy Elf the day they found out that they had been shortlisted.

Creswell Crags have proved that anything is possible as long as you are creative enough and are brave enough to give something a try. They have also proved that you don’t always need to win something to be successful — Craggy Elf got more attention, photographs and mentions on the night than any other museum — and for that reason alone, they are winners in their own right.

Craggy Elf will go back to Elf HQ for a rest now, and will return to Creswell Crags on Friday 1st December 2017.