The National Trust
Award Winning Exhibition & Interpretation Project
Wicker baskets, old wellies and galvanised watering cans were all part of a major exhibition that toured National Trust properties across the UK. Recycled materials and bamboo along with hundreds of paper flowers were used in A Plant in Time, which aimed to raise awareness of how climate change might affect the splendid National Trust gardens in the future. Thousands of brightly coloured paper flowers and green living pledges on paper leaves made by exhibition visitors were a key part of the exhibition which featured three oil paintings illustrating how UK gardens could dramatically change if temperatures rise during this century.
Our brief was to create a stunning public exhibition using eco materials which could be dismantled and packed up by National Trust staff in order to take it around the properties. Everything was sustainable, recyclable or reusable so that when the exhibition finished it could be completely dismantled and nothing ended up in landfill. Fortunately our local recycling centre had plenty of useful props from old plant pots to watering cans which we cleaned up. We used a lot of bamboo to provide structural support and commissioned wicker baskets locally to display the paper flowers and protect them when the exhibition was moved.
Supported by Yorkshire and Clydesdale Banks, the exhibition toured 18 National Trust gardens nationally and further people attended workshops. A smaller version toured major shopping centres in the North of England as well as the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show. Feedback from both visitors and National Trust staff and volunteers at properties hosting the exhibition has been overwhelmingly positive. Many visitors commented that although they knew about climate change in theory, the exhibition made the implications much easier to understand engaged them in the issues and encouraged them to take their own positive steps.
The exhibition, which attracted tens of thousands of visitors, topped the category for the ‘Best Green Event’ at the International Green Awards 2010. Earlier in the same year the exhibition received an IVCA Clarion Award, which recognises best practice in communicating the importance of corporate social responsibility, diversity, sustainability, community development and health.
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