4 October 2019

An environmentally-friendly exhibition at Leeds City Museum has won a prestigious national award, using sustainable materials to explore the wonders of the natural world.

Beavers to Weavers: The Wonderful World of Animal Makers won the Museums Change Lives (MCL) award in the category of environmental sustainability at a ceremony held in Brighton yesterday.

Over 48,000 people visited the exhibition at Leeds City Museum last year, taking in an exciting collection of creations crafted by different species from all across the world.

Leeds Museums & Galleries’ colleagues used hand-made paper, reused materials and recycled paint, to put the exhibition together. They also ran a  series of workshops and events, which encouraged visitors to think about how we can each reduce the impact we have on the planet.

Organised by the Museums Association, the MCL Awards aim to champion the work of individuals and institutions around the UK working with and for their communities.

Rebecca Machin, Leeds Museums & Galleries’ Curator of Natural Science, said: “We could not be more thrilled and honoured to receive this award and we’re incredibly grateful to all our visitors and everyone who worked so hard to help make the exhibition a success.

“Raising awareness of the unprecedented challenges facing the natural world has never been more important than it is today and museums have a huge role to play in educating and informing our visitors about how we need to work together to ensure a sustainable future for the planet’s vulnerable species.

“We’re immensely proud that Beavers to Weavers has made a difference and encouraged people to think about the wonder and fragility of the animal kingdom.”

Among the objects which displayed during the exhibition were tiny, exquisite pearl Buddha figures made inside mussel shells a gigantic wasps’ nest, on loan from Manchester Museum, and the delicate egg sacs of spiders, mantises and octopus.

Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, said: “This is an incredibly proud day for our museums and galleries and the team at Leeds City Museum.

“Not only have they given tens of thousands of people the opportunity to appreciate some incredible sights and experiences from across the natural world, they have led the way in sustainability and environmental awareness and set a benchmark for other cultural venues and organisations.

“This award is a fitting tribute to their boldness and creativity and I would like to congratulate them on receiving such prestigious and thoroughly deserved recognition.”

The award marks the second time in two weeks that Leeds Museums & Galleries have brought home a national award.

Volunteers at Temple Newsam House recently won the sought-after Volunteers in Museum Learning award for Blot on the Landscape, an exhibition exploring the fascinating history of deep shaft, drift and open cast mining on the estate.

Their creative efforts were recognised at the Marsh Awards held at London’s British Museum.