Heritage Open Days
Each September GMDT co-ordinates Morpeth’s programme for the national Heritage Open Days (HODs) festival. After a single event in 2005 involving the opening of Collingwood House and an accompanying display by Morpeth Antiquarian Society, the programme has expanded most recently to cover 4 days across a long weekend.
An intensive programme takes place during which many of Morpeth’s churches, heritage buildings, and organisations stage around two dozen special free events or venue openings. These range from poetry walks through exhibitions and talks; to guided visits around local churches, Collingwood House, and the treasures of Morpeth Town Hall!
GMDT ‘s co-ordination of HODs events across Morpeth and its surrounding area, sees our community taking an active part in animating local spaces to highlight the importance of our heritage and its part in local life. Some typical events are described below:
> Churches put on displays and/or provide refreshments;
> family history research is showcased;
> drop-in heritage afternoons take place;
> poets provide costumed guided walks;
> Morpeth Town Council opens up the civic rooms housing Morpeth Town Hall’s treasures;
> Clock Tower Bellringers show visitors inside the Tower and try their hand at handling the bells;
> The Collingwood Society presents one of its annual lectures;
> willing local shops place potted histories and old photos of their premises in their windows, (courtesy of Morpeth Antiquarian Society museum group researchers);
> Morpeth-based professional theatre company, November Club, has also taken part with a site-specific drama based on the true tale of an escaped elephant, performed around the town streets.
Our local community is actively encouraged to join in, and the whole project is run locally by volunteers. While there is no funding support provided by the national HODs team, online marketing, display materials and advice are provided by its partners, the National Trust and Postcode Lottery – so GMDT relies each year upon a Volunteer Co-ordinator. Please do get in touch if you are interested in taking on this role for 2019!