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Meet our Finalists – Young People

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By West Midlands Museum Development / Posted on Friday 30th August 2019

Meet the finalists in our final category Young People…

Alex Rowe, Waterworks Museum – Hereford

Alex, an 18-year old blacksmithing student, walked into the Museum in April 2018 to offer his services as a volunteer.  Nobody could have anticipated the impact he would make in a short space of time. In his first week he distributed posters around Hereford and then volunteered additional weekend time to support their Steampunk festival. He has diligently supported their open days in steam during term time, and some during college holidays. He is the youngest of their volunteers in training to operate the 1895 triple expansion steam engine. In September-October 2018, he boosted awareness of the Museum by producing two ‘behind the scenes’ video-blogs.

Given this contribution, it was no surprise when in March 2019 Alex was appointed the Waterworks Museum’s first Youth Trustee.

It would have been quite daunting for an 18-year-old to step into this environment, but Alex’s enthusiasm and can-do attitude quickly saw him accepted as a valuable and valued member of the team.


Jacob Fowkes, Claymills Victorian Pumping Station

Jacob now 17 first came to the museums junior engineers club aged 12. He’d been told there was no room, and arrived with his membership fee, form filled in, and both parents as back-up. They couldn’t turn down such keenness, and immediately made room.

For the first few years he worked under guidance, proving to be very intelligent and a very quick learner, and he was soon trusted to undertake projects without supervision. Since then he has personally restored or overhauled several of their smaller steam engines, and worked well in a team on the large ones. He has also become a knowledgeable and very popular tour guide. He strategises their social media and runs them with one other young volunteer, and now works as an adult leader with the junior engineers. He will soon be asked to join the board of trustees at the museum.

“Claymills, and the world, need more young people like Jacob.” [Nominator]


Phoebe Kelly, Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, Birmingham Museum Trust

Phoebe’s role was to support the organisation of the annual Heritage Week in Birmingham which takes place in September. In this role Phoebe gathered information about events happening across the city and got it ready for the website, she supported social media activity, played a huge part in the launch event and assisted with the co-ordination of the evaluation. She is also an Archive Project Assistant working alongside the Heritage Sites Teams to collate a business archive for Birmingham Museums. This role involves visiting our sites and physically sorting information as well as pulling it all together digitally. She manages to balance both projects brilliantly, whilst also studying full time at university, and it is through her hard work that these projects are as successful as they are.

“Phoebe is a true advocate of Birmingham Museums and her hard work, passion and enthusiasm are clear whenever she is volunteering with us. We really believe that Phoebe deserves to be publicly recognised for the work and passion she has bought to our organisation.” [Nominator]

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