Stromness Museum blog

Stromness Museum success in awards celebrating heritage and interpretation

Double win for Stromness Museum with ‘Climate Cafés’ initiative taking the Calling Out Climate Change award and Excellence in Interpretation at the AHI 2023 Engaging People Awards.

Organised by the Association for Heritage Interpretation (AHI), the Engaging People Awards celebrate the best heritage, nature, culture and science experiences in the UK and Ireland.  The awards recognise projects that tell great stories about places, people and collections which inspire visitors and local communities to explore and discover more. This year’s winners were revealed at the Awards Dinner on Thursday 12th October, during this year’s AHI Conference in Lincoln.

Stromness Museum’s Climate Cafés project was shortlisted and won the ‘Calling Out Climate Change’ category, an award which recognises projects that engage audiences to highlight the impacts, challenges and opportunities of climate change and inspire people to take action that makes positive changes.

The Climate Cafés initiative was developed to engage with local community groups with discussions focussed on the idea of ‘changes in a lifetime’. Using objects from the museum’s natural science collection as a conversation springboard, the café invited people to think about changes they have seen within their own lifetimes which could be attributed to climate change and share views on the climate in an inclusive, non-judgemental space.

The Climate Cafés project was also revealed as the overall winner of the Award for Excellence in Interpretation.

Katie Firth receiving the awards on behalf of Stromness Museum

Ruth Coulthard, Vice-Chair of the AHI Engaging People Awards, said:

“The judging panel for the Association for Heritage Interpretation's 'Engaging People Awards' were very impressed by the high quality of this year's entries. This year AHI created a new category for the Awards called ‘Calling out Climate Change’ and the judges were blown away by the success achieved by Stromness Museum’s Climate Cafes: Changes in a Lifetime project. It was both meticulously planned and beautifully executed, resulting in an intimate, enriching and rewarding experience for participants and a strong, optimistic future for the museum.

“The project was so engaging and successful that it also nudged ahead of the winners in our other categories, and was awarded our prestigious AHI Engaging People Award for Excellence 2023.

The project is a lesson to us all on how we can engage a wide range of participants, inspire positive action and create a lasting legacy for both the project host and project participants.”

On receiving both awards on behalf of Stromness Museum, Katy Firth, Museum Climate Change Exhibitions and Outreach Officer, said:

We’re honoured to receive these awards and get recognition for this work at national level. The climate café project gave us the opportunity to raise awareness of the museum’s collection within the local community and has kick-started a whole new programme of activities for the museum, bringing biodiversity and climate change into much of the work we do.

“It was incredible to be shortlisted alongside such inspiring projects from organisations across the country. Congratulations to all the winners and nominees.”

For the full list of finalists and winners, visit:

Katy has put a short reel of the awards here:

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