History project in line for award

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A LONG-RUNNING programme to bring history to life for Northumberland’s young people has been shortlisted for a top national award.

Time Travel Northumberland, which involves several Morpeth youngsters, was set up by Woodhorn Museum and Northumberland Archives in May 2010 to stir the interest in local heritage among young people by helping them to develop creative cultural activities based on historical records.

Now the project has been shortlisted for Best Educational Initiative, alongside The National Archives, The Science Museum, Historic Royal Palaces and Epping Forest’s Open Spaces, in the Tenth Museum and Heritage Awards.

Creative Mentor and Project Co-ordinator Juliet Hardy said: “Time Travel Northumberland has blown the dust off local history for a lot of young people and given them inspiration to look into their past and the history of their area and come up with creative ways to show other young people the value of what they have learnt.”

The scheme is one of 15 youth participation projects in the North East receiving funding from NE-Generation, the Legacy Trust UK regional programme, to create a lasting impact from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games by inspiring creativity.

One of its most successful activities to date was an 1840s ‘Big Brother’ experience, planned by Morpeth young people, where 24 teenagers spent four days living in Featherstone Castle, dressing, working and living as their ancestors would have done 170 years ago. Their only contact with technology was with a film crew who were documenting the experience.

A similar event will take place this August when a group will experience life in the 1940s, including rationing, the threat of bombing raids and invasion and normal domestic activities of the time.

Local youngsters are also planning a re-enactment of the Morpeth Olympics, which was a major international competition until 1958.

NE-Generation Programme Manager Ben Ayrton said: “Time Travel Northumberland shows that it is possible for the North East’s cultural sector to work with young people to achieve something remarkable and create a lasting cultural legacy.

“I doubt any of the time travellers will forget their work with this project or what life was like in the 1840’s and 1940’s in Northumberland.”

The winner of the national award will be announced at a ceremony in London on Wednesday, May 16.