Shortlist for our sustainability award announced

Tickets for the Museums + Heritage Awards
Five projects have been shortlisted for the Museums + Heritage award, which recognises their outstanding environmental sustainability practices.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund is sponsoring the Museums + Heritage Sustainable Project of the Year Award for the second year running.

"In the midst of the climate crisis, it’s these innovations which will help secure the future of the planet and allow the heritage sector to continue to thrive."

Drew Bennellick, Head of Land and Nature Policy at The Fund

A panel of judges from The Fund sifted through the diverse assortment of applications and selected the top five applicants which demonstrated excellent examples of sustainable practice.

Drew Bennellick, one of the judges and Head of Land and Nature Policy at The Fund said: “It’s been great to see such innovation from projects large and small. In the midst of the climate crisis, it’s these innovations which will help secure the future of the planet and allow the heritage sector to continue to thrive.

“We’re really impressed by what all five shortlisted projects have achieved and we’re looking forward to congratulating the winners!”

The shortlist

National Museums Wales – GRAFT: a soil based syllabus

GRAFT is a community growing garden located directly outside Swansea's National Waterfront Museum. The space is an edible landscape built and maintained by local volunteers. It comprises a variety of plants, event and cooking facilities, and several bee hives.

The garden is used to host talks and activities on the environment, promote permaculture (self-sufficient agriculture) and sustainable practices, and hold suppers using produce from the garden.

The project supports many disadvantaged community groups, providing skills training and a vital space for wellbeing. They also donate the fruit, veg and herbs produced to those in need in the local area.

GRAFT community garden

Leeds Art Gallery – Natural Encounters Exhibition

This exhibition, on display between October 2020 and February 2021, provided an artists’ perspective on challenging discussions around climate change, nature and the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The gallery adapted its temporary exhibition practices to improve environmental impact – a practice they intend to use in future exhibitions. The exhibition was sourced 100% sustainably, from the artwork signage to the display plinths. Everything was produced using recycled and sustainable materials, and the temporarily displayed artworks were transported to the gallery using electric vehicles only.

The gallery staff were also trained in environmental issues such as carbon literacy, and the gallery provided an online programme of talks.

Woman observing art at the Natural Encounters exhibition

Museum of Making – Derby Silk Mill development

This project saw the renovation of the 1721 silk mill, plus an extension built to showcase the story of industrialisation.

The Museum of Making considered environmental sustainability throughout the large-scale project. Some of the changes included thermally upgrading the building (to help regulate its temperature), reducing reliance on artificial light, installing photovoltaics (to convert sunlight to electricity) and LED lighting.

They also reduced demolition of existing buildings during the project and recycled materials such as doors, windows and 11,000 bricks, which were cleaned by volunteers and reused. Many of the materials used were recyclable and biodegradable.

The museum installed nest boxes and bat boxes for local wildlife. It is also promoting sustainable transport methods for staff and visitors and educating visitors on sustainable practices.

Inside Derby Museum of Making

London T.O.A.D. (Tails of Amphibian Discovery)

The T.O.A.D. project aims to increase biodiversity and enhance aquatic and terrestrial habitats in London, and has so far improved habitats across 3.72ha.

Through the creation of ponds, the project estimates it captured 9,900kg of carbon in 2020. To reduce carbon emissions further, all staff use sustainable transport methods such as public transport, and visitors are encouraged to stay local.

The project has carefully selected only reusable, sustainably sourced and biodegradable resources and materials. All waste is also reused or recycled, and food waste is composted.

Froglife volunteers making a pond

Jubilee Pool Penzance

This 85-year-old Art Deco lido has been refurbished with a pioneering geothermic heating system – the first pool in the UK to use this sustainable method.

The Jubilee Pool extracts warm water from a 410m deep geothermic well, which is then used to heat the fresh seawater in the pool (which is naturally drawn from the sea at high tide). This sustainable method means that the pool doesn’t rely on fossil fuel energy, substantially reducing the environmental impact.

Swimmers in the Jubilee Pool

The awards

The Sustainable Project of the Year winner will be announced at the annual Museums + Heritage Awards ceremony taking place virtually on Thursday 7 July 2021.

Our commitment to environmental sustainability

The heritage sector has an important role to play in reducing carbon emissions and tackling climate change. Visit our Landscapes, parks and nature page to find out more about our commitment to the environment and how your project can make a difference to nature.

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