Last summer’s Beat Plastic Pollution pop-up Aquarium display at the Horniman Museum and Gardens has won a Museums + Heritage Award, at a special online ceremony last night (Tuesday 22 September 2020).
The display ran from 8 June to 1 August 2019, and featured more than 150 items of single-use and waste plastic inserted into the Horniman’s permanent aquarium exhibits, alongside information about the impact plastic has on aquatic creatures, and actions visitors could take to reduce this harm. One of the Horniman’s best-loved displays – the jellyfish – was replaced by around 30 plastic bags, commonly mistaken for jellyfish in the ocean and, fatally, eaten by sea turtles.
Praised by judges as ‘imaginative, clever, beautifully done, with content crowdsourced from its own staff’, Beat Plastic Pollution was crowned Limited Budget Project of the Year. It is one of 15 winners of the 18th Museums + Heritage Awards, which celebrate the most innovative and ground-breaking initiatives of the last year from museums, galleries and heritage visitor attractions across the UK and overseas. Highly commended in the same category was the Bailiffgate Museum and Gallery, in Alnwick, Northumberland, for its 100 Years of Fashion.
Michelle Calvert, Deputy Aquarium Curator at the Horniman Museum and Gardens, says: ‘This was a real passion project for me and the Aquarium team, and the whole of the Horniman got behind us, as it’s such an important part of what we believe – to reduce plastic pollution.’
Anna Preedy, Director of the annual Museums + Heritage Awards commented: ‘Being able to share such great news, in announcing the winners of the 2020 Museums + Heritage Awards, has been a real privilege. As we work together to recover, these Awards are a timely reminder of the exceptional creativity and determination of this sector, characteristics which are demonstrated so well by all of our winners.’