Milton Cottage Trust engaged Riot to raise awareness of the Milton’s Cottage museum, just outside London, in the 350th anniversary year, and to drive public donations to match-fund a Heritage Lottery Grant to preserve the cottage in perpetuity.
The 17th century cottage is where poet and parliamentarian John Milton completed Paradise Lost. After Shakespeare’s birthplace, it’s the second oldest writer’s home museum in the world.
We created an emotive media relations campaign around the Trust’s Paradise Maintain’d fundraising drive, calling on the public to save this unique literary landmark for future generations, using the example of a £20 gift Queen Victoria, the museums’ first supporter, to spur donations.
Our idea to host a non-stop reading of Paradise Lost by 350 local people, taking over 10 hours further helped our pitch.
An interview with the museum’s Chair of Trustees on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme kicked off the campaign, followed by a spread of news stories in the national broadsheets. In addition to a spike in visitor numbers, the Trust received hundreds of donations from all over the world, ranging from £20-£2000 within one week of launch.