Vote for your Favourite Museums Object of the Year 2023

Living Magazines Herts Museums Object of the Year

What have a mobile phone, a giant toe and Gordon the gopher got in common? They are all after your vote as interesting objects nominated by one of the county’s museums, to become the Hertfordshire Object of the Year 2023. There are 14 unusual items to choose from and the winning object is up to you to decide, by public vote.

The county’s museums are a packed with little known treasures, objects that tell the story of our shared heritage and our communities. With over 30 different museums and heritage organisations in Hertfordshire there is a lot to celebrate and this year members of the Hertfordshire Association of Museums were asked to nominate an object from their collection that is important to our heritage.

Museum Objects entered include:

  • Ashwell Museum – Dolls House Chamber Pot
    Dolls House Chamber Pot with a gold interior and the amusing inscription: Morning Exercise on the exterior.
  • The Bunker Museum at Hatfield Police Station – Diorama of Blue Streak Missile Silo
    A diorama showing a Blue Streak Missile in its 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.
  • Dacorum Heritage – Click the Kodak Kolorkin
    The Kodak Kolorkins were creatures from the planet Koloron in search of colours that didn’t exist on their own planet. 20 million Kolorkins were distributed by Kodak worldwide during the late 1980’s, through the 1990’s into the new millennium. They continue to this day to migrate from person to person. These toys were presented as rewards for collecting token, or simply loyalty for using Kodak Products. Promotional material and merchandise also featured these brightly coloured creatures.
  • 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 & fierce animal rights campaigner, Edmund T MacMichael.
  • Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies (HALS) – (19686) Papal bull with bulla
    Papal bull with bulla issued by Pope Urban IV on 22 Sep 1263 to the prioress and nuns of the priory of St Giles in the Wood, Flamstead. 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 – The Four Swans
    ‘Are they the swans from Waltham Cross?’ is something people often ask at Lowewood Museum. The set of four wooden swans sat for 100 years on wooden gallows across Waltham Cross’s High Street. They are beautiful, fascinating and special.
  • Mill Green Museum – Deer Leg Knife and Fork
    Would you have these in your house? This set of a fork and carving knife have the legs of a deer as handles! What were probably holiday souvenirs from a hunting trip speak to us about a different generation.
  • Natural History Museum at Tring – Glis glis
    The Glis glis is not only cute but raises awareness of the impact that introduced species can have on local biodiversity. The UK the population was established after 1902, when the animals escaped from Rothschild’s collection at Tring. There are estimated to be hundreds of thousands of the furry pests across swathes of the Home Counties – all descended from six imported from mainland Europe by the Second Baron Rothschild, an amateur naturalist, in 1902 and let loose in woods on his land in Tring, Hertfordshire.
  • North Hertfordshire Museum – Giant Toe
    This giant toe is both old and new; a product of Ancient Egypt’s Eighteenth Dynasty and 21st century Britain. The toe, which may be from a colossal statue of Amenhotep III in Luxor, had a base of Carrara marble added by famous British sculptor John Mills.
  • Royston Museum – 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’. The Chief Gargler ran meetings and issued fines.
  • 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.
  • Three Rivers Museum – The diaries and counts of John White
    The diaries of farmer John White of Rickmansworth from 1846 to 1896, record his work, his life and those of his contacts and friends. Full of detail, they give wonderful insight into life at that time.
  • Tring Local History Museum – Railway Sleeper with Chair
    1837 Railway Stone Sleeper with cast iron chair that held the rail. Stone bases are often found, but not with the original chair in place. Having conferred with other railway museums the museum knows that theirs is extremely rare.
  • Watford Museum – Watford FC mobile phone
    This Nokia 3310 decorated with a Watford Football Club case was showcased at the Watford Centenary exhibition to celebrated 100 years of being a chartered borough; it also commemorated 100 years of the football club being at Vicarage Road.

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

The Object of the Year will be decided by you, find out more and vote here:

Voting closes at midnight on 19 February 2023.