ONE of Warrington’s best-known ambassadors is celebrating 40 years of working at the town’s museum.
Janice Hayes started her career at Warrington Museum and Art Gallery in August 1977 as a museum education officer, following earlier roles teaching history and English in secondary schools.
Since then, she has undertaken almost every role in the museum, from curating exhibitions to expanding the photographic collections and working with the archives.
Along the way she has acquired a wealth of knowledge, which has enabled her to publish a series of successful books about Warrington’s history – her latest book, “Warrington at Work”, is due for publication next month.
Janice has been at the forefront of many firsts in Warrington culture, including the development of a number of history groups across the town for individual communities to find out about their past; bringing more than a £1 million pounds in funding for the museum to refurbish its existing galleries and develop new ones; and being involved in Warrington’s Walking Day film.
She helped to make Warrington’s Rugby League World Cup bid very different to many other towns.
Because of her unique knowledge and passion for Warrington, the event was a celebration of the town’s culture and heritage as much as its proud rugby league legacy.
As part of the Rugby League World Cup celebrations, she organised a ceremony for the repatriation of a Maori head at the museum to its homeland – ensuring the celebration was moving and meaningful for all.
She has also brought depth and knowledge to some of Warrington’s biggest events and projects, including the celebrations for the Jubilee Year, World War One commemorations and the cultural input into the new Great Sankey Neighbourhood Hood.
Emma Hutchinson, managing director of Culture Warrington, said: “Janice has given her heart and soul to many projects which have really put Warrington on the map.
“She has so much pride for her home town and channels this into her work at the museum.
“I’m sure all of her colleagues who have got to know her over the last 40 years would agree that she’s a pleasure to work with.
“I’d like to thank Janice for her dedication and contribution over the years. She’s made a huge difference to town and its museum.”
Although Janice took flexible retirement in 2016, she’s still working for Culture Warrington, who run the museum, in the role of heritage manager.
Over the next few years, she will lead her biggest project to date – the development of a multi-million pound heritage facility in the existing museum and library building.
Janice said: “It’s been a privilege to have the opportunity to explore the fantastic collections in Warrington’s museum and to serve as only the eighth head of service in its history.
“I’m really looking forward to being part of a series of celebrations for the 140th anniversary of the art gallery and for the 170th anniversary of the creation of the museum and library in 2018.”
Janice received a teddy bear as a gift from Culture Warrington – she has collected teddies since she was three!