18th January 2006




A lecturer in Museum and Exhibition Design at the University of Lincoln is celebrating after winning two national awards at a ceremony held at the Imperial War Museum in London.


Senior lecturer Mike Oakenfull, who works part-time at the university as well as running his own design practice, Querceus Design, picked up two gongs at the 2005 Interpret Britain and Ireland Awards.


The awards which are given out by the Association for Heritage Interpretation (AHI) were presented by AHI’s patron, heritage campaigner and television personality Loyd Grossman.


Mike received the awards for two exhibitions he designed for The National Trust in Birmingham and the Hartlepool Arts, Museums and Events Service.


The ‘Birmingham Back to Backs’ project involved the restoration of some of the city’s last surviving back to back houses.


The exhibition traces the story of the houses by concentrating on the lives of four families who inhabited them during different periods in their history: the1840s, 1870s, 1930s and 1970s.


Commenting on the project the judges said: “This is an impressive piece of interpretation that demonstrates the value of preserving heritage buildings to tell a story that could otherwise be invisible…The range of media used was good and appropriate to a range of audiences and motivations.”


For the second project called ‘The Curiosity Shop’ Mike was appointed to design a ‘roving’ exhibition which could be erected in disused shops. It featured 150 objects from museums in the Tees valley and north-east of England including life-sized Dr Who models, a giant squid and the world’s smallest cat and dog.


According to the judges ‘The Curiosity Shop’ is “…a super, professional and inspirational project. The museums profession at large has much to learn from it.”



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