Six projects chosen for Sustainable Project of the Year

Schoolgirl looking at Dippy dinosaur
Six heritage projects across the UK have been shortlisted for The National Lottery Heritage Fund's inaugural Museums + Heritage Sustainable Project of the Year Award.

The award was set up to celebrate the most outstanding environmentally sustainable initiative, project or exhibition in the heritage sector in 2019.

It is the first year for the new category at the annual Museums + Heritage Awards, which was developed in partnership with The National Lottery Heritage Fund

The shortlisted projects are:

  • The National Trust – Tŷ Mawr Wybrnant climate adaptation/mitigation project
  • Imperial War Museums – sustainable storage building
  • Museum of Oxford – temporary exhibition Queering Spires: A History of LGBTIQA+ Spaces in Oxford  
  • The British Museum/Free Practise Ltd – Disposable? Rubbish and Us exhibition
  • Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales – exhibition Dinosaurs and Activism? Yes Please
  • Natural History Museum Tring – self-sustaining building

Why we are supporting the award

The award was set up in a time of climate and ecological emergency. The Fund already requires every project it supports with National Lottery funding to do its best to improve environmental sustainability and create positive benefits for nature. 

Drew Bennellick, The National Lottery Heritage Fund Head of Land and Nature Policy, said: "We were delighted to see the enthusiasm of applicants to share their successes and learning for others to follow. The twin climate and ecological emergencies are prompting more organisations to rethink how they go about their daily business.

“Coronavrius (COVID-19) and the subsequent lockdown has highlighted just how valuable our heritage and our natural world are and I hope that these shortlisted projects can inspire many others to make big steps towards protecting both for the future.” 

Drew Bennellick, The National Lottery Heritage Fund Head of Land and Nature Policy

"So the more good practice and inspirational ideas that can be shared, then the greater the chance that we can reach that critical goal of net zero in the UK by 2050. 

“Coronavrius (COVID-19) and the subsequent lockdown has highlighted just how valuable our heritage and our natural world are and I hope that these shortlisted projects can inspire many others to make big steps towards protecting both for the future.” 

Anna Preedy, director of the Museums + Heritage Awards, said: “Each year the announcement of the Museums + Heritage Awards shortlist is a real boon for the sector but this year, more than ever before, it is an honour to share this good news and to be able to spotlight the extraordinary talent and dedication of so many brilliant individuals and the creative determination of the invaluable organisations for which they work." 

The shortlist in full:

The National Trust – Tŷ Mawr Wybrnant climate adaptation/mitigation project

Ty Mawr cottage

 

The historic farmhouse has seen an increase in humidity, exacerbated by flooding in spring 2019.

The project worked with Trinity University to design a low-cost water pump. It takes water from the nearby Wybrnant river and generates electricity which is used to manage the humidity in the house. The project used local contractors and timber made from local larch. The project is the first renewable electricity generation project in the National Trust set up solely for conservation management. 

Imperial War Museums, Duxford – sustainable storage building

People looking at an airplane

 

The new repository is the first Museum Passivhaus storage building in the UK. It has achieved the world record for being airtight and lowers the costs of caring for the collection.  

The new facility is designed to accommodate 50 years’ expansion of Imperial War Museum’s collections. 

Museum of Oxford – Queering Spires: A history of LGBTIQA+ spaces in Oxford exhibition

Children at the Museum of Oxford

 

The museum wanted to reduce waste from an upcoming temporary exhibition, while ensuring procurement was socially and environmentally responsible.  

Most elements of the exhibition were borrowed or reused, including second-hand furniture and decor. A new arts piece was made using recycled materials. Plinths and a case were reused from previous exhibitions. Most of the object delivery was via public transport and bicycles. Printing was done by a local company. 

The British Museum/Free Practise Ltd – Disposable? Rubbish and us exhibition

A woman with papers at the British Museum

 

The museum put on an exhibition about the historical creation of single-use and repurposed objects. The exhibition build did not use any new materials. Display cases, plinths and walls as well as smaller items such as wood screws and bulldog clips were repurposed from a previous exhibition. Existing banners were reused as new graphic panels, labels, wall displays and entrance banners.  

Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales – Dinosaurs and activism? Yes please exhibition

Dinosaur in museum

 

National Museum Cardiff hosted Dippy – the Natural History Museum’s diplodocus – on its nationwide tour. Working with the public and artists, the museum's Youth Forum made bespoke displays from waste fashion to feature in the Dippy About Nature Exhibition. The exhibition reused materials from previous exhibitions. Live performances included working with Extinction Rebellion, who led a "die-in". 

Natural History Museum at Tring – self-sustaining building

Polar Bear in display case

 

This project tackled ongoing problems with the building's external facade and roof leaks. Environmentally responsible measures included 100% recycling of construction waste during three months of construction. Over 300 solar panels will meet the entire building's electricity needs.   

The project is expected to extend the lifespan of the building by at least 50 years, reduce heat loss and prevent water ingress.

Museums + Heritage Awards ceremony

The Museums + Heritage Awards will take place on Tuesday 22 September as a virtual awards ceremony.

Museum + Heritage Awards shortlists

We're proud that a number of projects we've funded are in the running for this year's Museum + Heritage Awards.

These include:

Find all the shortlistees on the Museums & Heritage Awards website.

How can you make your project more sustainable?

In our Strategic Funding Framework 2019–2024 we set out how we expect all projects we fund to improve their environmental sustainability and particularly to create positive benefits for nature.

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