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My Brighton and Hove
The My Brighton and Hove community history website was founded as a Millenium project in 2000 on a budget of only £2000. It was based on the 1995 award-winning ‘My Brighton’ local history touchscreen exhibit at Brighton Museum and Art Gallery. Through the site, people share their memories, photos, knowledge and opinions about the city - as it is today and as it was in the past. Seven years on, this uniquely active and low-cost website is entirely run by volunteers, has grown to 8,700 pages of (mainly) user-generated content and receives dozens of photos, memories and comments each week from the general public. Its message-board has over 8,000 messages. Throughout 2007, a team of volunteers added hundreds of entries to the site from the ‘Encyclopaedia of Brighton’, an out-of-print local history reference book, illustrating the entries with newly taken photos and old photos from Brighton Museum’s online image bank. The My Brighton and Hove website receives no core funding, and pays for its web hosting costs through donations and sales of local history products. The site is therefore nominated in the Small/Low Budget Category. Originally co-sponsored by Brighton Museum, the My Brighton and Hove website now fits the ICOM definition of a museum in its own right. The site is run by a self-governing group of volunteers, who recently decided to affiliate the project to a local not-for-profit community history publisher (QueenSpark Books). Brighton Museum is proud to have spawned this self-sustaining heritage project for the city. The sophisticated content management system which runs the site was created by two founder members of the My Brighton and Hove volunteer team. It has proved so effective that it is now sold to other museums and heritage projects in the UK through a company called www.communitysites.co.uk. This emotionally rich and extremely informative site has won the Best Community Site award in Brighton and Hove for the last 3 out of 4 years. In the 4th year, the volunteers decided not to enter for the award in order to make way for other community groups to win.