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The 14 curios competing for the title of Hertfordshire Museum Object of the Year 2023





Hertfordshire residents are being asked to vote for their favourite object in the county's museums.

The contenders include a mobile phone, a giant toe and Gordon the Gopher.

The county council's cabinet member for education, libraries and localism, Cllr Terry Douris, said: "The Hertfordshire Association of Museums Awards are a great opportunity for our museums to showcase the objects they care for and the work they do.

Which object is your favourite? (61877779)
Which object is your favourite? (61877779)

"Hertfordshire's museums are wonderfully welcoming places, and I am especially keen to encourage people to take advantage of those offering themselves as warm spaces this winter. I look forward to seeing which object captures people's imagination this year."

In all, 14 unusual items selected from over 30 museums and heritage organisations have made the short list. The curios picked by members of the Hertfordshire Association of Museums to illustrate the county's shared heritage are:

Doll's chamber pots at Ashwell Museum
Doll's chamber pots at Ashwell Museum

Ashwell Museum – a pair of dolls' house chamber pots with golden interiors and the inscription "Morning Exercise" on the exterior.

Diorama of Blue Streak Missile silo at The Bunkder Museum, Hatfield (61876927)
Diorama of Blue Streak Missile silo at The Bunkder Museum, Hatfield (61876927)

The Bunker Museum at Hatfield police station – diorama of Blue Streak Missile silo. Designed and built by de Havilland at Hatfield, Blue Streak was Britain's first long-range missile and was later used for satellite launches.

Kodak Kolorkins at Dacorum Heritage
Kodak Kolorkins at Dacorum Heritage

Dacorum Heritage – Click the Kodak Kolorkin. In all, 20 million Kolorkins were distributed by Kodak worldwide from the late 1980s into the new millennium as rewards for collecting tokens or using Kodak products.

Flyposter at Letchworth's Garden City Collection (61876925)
Flyposter at Letchworth's Garden City Collection (61876925)

Garden City Collection (Letchworth) – 'Boycott the Circus' fly poster. Part of Letchworth's proud history of activism, this 1948 poster was made by the Performing Animal Defence League, run by Letchworth resident and fierce animal rights campaigner Edmund T MacMichael.

Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies' papal bull
Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies' papal bull

Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies (HALS) – (19686) papal bull with bulla. Issued by Pope Urban IV on September 22, 1263, to the prioress and nuns of the priory of St Giles in the Wood, Flamstead. The bulla is made of lead and shows St Paul and St Peter on the obverse with the name of the Pope on the reverse.

Lowewood Museum's Four Swans (61876923)
Lowewood Museum's Four Swans (61876923)

Lowewood Museum – The Four Swans. This quartet of wooden swans sat for 100 years on wooden gallows across Waltham Cross's High Street.

Knife and fork with deer bone handle at Mill Green Museum
Knife and fork with deer bone handle at Mill Green Museum

Mill Green Museum – deer leg knife and fork. This set of a fork and carving knife have bone handles and were probably holiday souvenirs from a hunting trip in a different era.

Glis glis at Tring Museum (61876929)
Glis glis at Tring Museum (61876929)

Natural History Museum at Tringglis glis. The glis glis, or European edible dormouse, raises awareness of the impact that introduced species can have on biodiversity. In the UK, the population boomed after six were imported from mainland Europe by the 2ns Baron Rothschild, an amateur naturalist, in 1902 and let loose in woods on his land in Tring.

Giant toe at North Herts Museum
Giant toe at North Herts Museum

North Hertfordshire Museum – giant toe. The toe, which may be from a colossal statue of Amenhotep III in Luxor, Egypt, had a base of Carrara marble added by British sculptor John Mills.

Ancient Order of Froth Blowers chain of office at Royston Museum
Ancient Order of Froth Blowers chain of office at Royston Museum

Royston Museum – the chain of office, AOFB Chief Gargler. The Ancient Order of Froth Blowers was founded in 1924. They met in pubs and fundraised through fines for rule-breaking and membership fees. Their motto was 'lubrication in moderation'.

Gordon the Gopher at Stevenage Museum
Gordon the Gopher at Stevenage Museum

Stevenage Museum – Gordon the Gopher. Gordon the Gopher is an 'icon' in the words of Jamie, a museum volunteer who has nominated this beloved puppet for Museum Object of the Year 2023.

John White diaries at Three Rivers Museum
John White diaries at Three Rivers Museum

Three Rivers Museum – The diaries and counts of John White. The diaries of Rickmansworth farmer John White from 1846 to 1896 record his work, his life and those of his contacts and friends. Full of detail, they give a wonderful insight into life at that time.

Tring Local History Museum – Rare 1837 railway stone sleeper with cast-iron chair that held the rail. Bases are often found, but not with the original chair in place.

Mobile telephone at Watford Museum
Mobile telephone at Watford Museum

Watford Museum – Watford Football Club mobile phone. This Nokia 3310 decorated with a Watford FC case was showcased at Watford's centenary exhibition to celebrate 100 years of being a chartered borough; it also commemorated a century of the football club at Vicarage Road.

To vote, see www.hertfordshiremuseums.org.uk/object-of-the-year-2023.aspx. Voting closes at midnight on February 19.



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