Throughout November, museums around the world have been taking to Twitter as part of the #Museum30 challenge, raising the profile of their institutions and the people that work and volunteer there.
Each of the 30 days of the month, museums respond to a word or phrase including everything from ‘unique object’ and ‘postcard’ to ‘after dark’ and ‘dream museum’.
On 15 November, the prompt phrase was ‘museum heroes’ and twitter was flooded with stories about the people who make museums amazing.
Representing Bedford, the John Bunyan Museum shared a photo of Doreen Watson who has been involved in Bunyan Meeting church for nearly 30 years and took a leading role when the decision was taken in 1991 to re-house the eponymous museum into its current building.
“Doreen was the secretary of the project management group, and saw the work through from the original idea to the opening in 1998,” said museum curator, Nicola Sherhod.
“She worked with designers, selected the objects and images to be displayed, and wrote all the text for the museum panels.
“Once the museum opened she set up and trained the team of volunteers who steward the museum and shop.”
As a result of Doreen’s work the museum won a number of national awards, and achieved full Accreditation status.
She also helped fundraise for a paid professional curator to take over running the museum and has continued to support the work of the museum through her roles as Museum Committee member and Trustee of Bunyan Meeting.
She was also a founding member of the Friends of John Bunyan Museum, set up in 1997, and continued as a committee member until 2018.
“Doreen has put her life and soul into the museum and, although she would be the first to list those who have helped and supported her, the museum would not have survived over the years without her dedication and hard work,” said Nicola.
“The museum wanted to celebrate her as one of the day’s #MuseumHeroes to show how much we’ve valued her contribution over the years.”