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Mud, Flood & Fire shortlisted for Museums and Heritage Award

Today (Thursday, March 14, 2024) the Brunel Museum has been shortlisted alongside four other nominees for the annual Museums + Heritage Awards. The global awards celebrate the very best in the world of museums, galleries, and cultural and heritage visitor attractions and will take place on the evening of Wednesday, May 15, 2024, at Hilton Park Lane, London.

The new schools show, Mud, Flood & Fire, is shortlisted for Learning Programme of the Year.

The show, funded by the Royal Society of Chemistry, uses the experiences of the workers who dug the Thames Tunnel to teach children about chemistry and the differences between solids, liquids and gases.

Anna Preedy, Director of Museums + Heritage Awards commented: “It’s truly inspiring to witness the broad range of organisations featured on this year’s shortlist, where small local museums stand shoulder-to-shoulder with globally renowned institutions. This diverse line-up beautifully reflects the rich tapestry of this sector, showcasing the inclusive and eclectic nature of our global cultural heritage.”

 “We are very pleased, for the first time, to be encouraging supporters of the museums to get more involved with an opportunity to vote on one of the awards. Museums’ cafes and restaurants are a great community hub and a wonderful way to generate revenue in a time when the cost-of-living crisis is affecting our sector more than ever before.”

Tom Benson, public engagement coordinator at the Royal Society of Chemistry said: “We are proud to fund a project like this. It will explore the history of chemistry with its local community in a unique way, and we encourage all local schools to get in touch with the Brunel Museum to take part.”

About Mud, Flood and Fire

Pupils learn who the men who dug the tunnel, uses hand tools like shovels and pick axes to clear away the London clay. With no natural light, the men were reliant on gas lamps, which were prone to explosion if the miners encountered a pocket of methane. They will learn how the men were under constant thread of the tunnel flooding. In fact, one such incident almost killed Isambard Kingdom Brunel who was working on the Tunnel at the time.

The Thames Tunnel was Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s first project, where he learnt his craft from his father Marc Brunel. “It seems fitting that the Brunel Museum should continue to be a place of learning” said Museum Director Katherine McAlpine.

Working with Spectrum Drama, the show tells the story of the men who worked on the tunnel. Many workers from moved to London to find work, and ended up in Rotherhithe working on the tunnel. Workers who built the tunnel endured gruelling conditions. They worked 8-hour shifts, and when they were not working slept in the dark, damp, unfinished tunnel.


Museums and He

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