AN EXHIBITION which told the story of Oxford’s gay and lesbian pubs saw off competition from a host of distinguished rivals to claim a national prize.

Queering Spires: a history of LGBTIQA+ spaces in Oxford won the sustainable project of the year category at a virtual Museums + Heritage Awards ceremony.

The display, at the Museum of Oxford, was created with an 'environmentally and socially responsible ethos' and aimed to reduce the amount of waste normally created by a temporary exhibition.

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It is the first time the award has been handed out and community engagement officer, Marta Lomza, was delighted that the institution was the first recipient.

She said: “It feels wonderful to be recognised for our efforts, especially from amongst such an illustrious shortlist.

"In staging the exhibition, we built new relationships with nearby socially responsible businesses, which minimised waste and CO2 emissions and supported the local economy.

"We now know it’s possible to have sustainability at the heart of exhibition curating and will continue to hold ourselves to that standard.

"Our knowledge of the practical aspects of what it means to be sustainable changes as new scientific findings come to light, and we will ensure that we remain responsive to this.”

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The Queering Spires exhibit used second hand furniture from Emmaus Oxford and was up against the likes of the British Museum and the Imperial War Museums.

Judges were impressed by the amount of borrowed or reused elements in the display, including recycled art pieces sourced from RAW, an Oxford-based social enterprise.

Plinths and cases were reused from previous exhibitions, while original objects were mostly delivered using public transport or by Oxfordshire cab company Go Green Taxis.

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Meanwhile, the few items that were bought new were made of reusable materials and will be used in other museum activities, or recycled when no longer required.

All printing was done by Oxford company, Mayfield.

The award was developed in partnership with The National Lottery Heritage Fund and the ceremony's director, Anna Preedy, hopes the exhibition will be mirrored by others.

She said: "It is so befitting of our times and I have no doubt that the winning project will inspire others to rethink and to have the courage to ensure that sustainability is at the very heart of their project decision making."