A NATIONWIDE tour by an extinct bird was enough to give staff and volunteers at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History two prizes at a national awards ceremony.

The museum scooped the Project on a Limited Budget award for its Dodo Roadshow project at Wednesday's Museums and Heritage Awards for Excellence, and also took back the main Best of the Best award.

After receiving the awards, museum director Professor Paul Smith said: "To take the award at the end of the night was a huge thrill and surprise, especially against such stiff competition.

"These prizes reward an astonishing period of creativity and hard work since our museum re-opened in 2014 and I am very proud of everyone involved."

The Dodo Roadshow was a trip from Lands End to John O'Groats last June, in which museum staff took their model of a Dodo on a tour of the country stopping off at 24 museums and galleries in just eight days.

The model included a cast of the museum's dried dodo head – the only remaining soft tissue material of the bird anywhere in the world- along with real dodo foot bones.

Staff aimed was to introduce more people to the flightless bird and talk about the museum's collections.

Both awards are now on display in the museum's entrance .

The awards were presented by comedian Marcus Brigstocke, in a ceremony in Northumberland Avenue, London. The funnyman said the dodo project was a "clever, fun and engaging idea, completed in a very short period of time, which celebrated new conversations and partnerships around the country."

Other prizes given out include best customer service, volunteers of the year, best innovation and the award for "outstanding contribution by an individual".

Now in its 14th year, the awards are organised by the Museums and Heritage Show and recognise the innovative work done at museums, galleries and visitor attractions across the country.

Awards were judged by a panel of experts including Dr Diana Owen, director of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and Maggie Appleton MBE, chief executive officer of the Royal Air Force Museum.