CUSTODIANS of ancient artefacts have been given gold for their efforts to go green.
The Oriental Museum in Durham has been presented with the top title for its work to be environmentally friendly and boost sustainable tourism.
The attraction, which is run by the city’s university, scooped the gold prize by the Visit England Green Tourism Business Scheme after first winning silver two years ago, with its staff working hard in that time to up its standards to be awarded the coveted gold.
The museum has been praised for the way the refurbishment of its galleries is being carried out.
Fluorescent and halogen lights have been replaced by low-energy LED lighting and staff have reused and recycled where possible.
Water-saving measures have been put in place and energy and water use are monitored.
The green ethos also extends to its café and shop, with an emphasis on Fairtrade and ethically traded goods.
Museum curator Dr Craig Barclay said: “We are absolutely delighted to have achieved this gold award.
“The Green Tourism Business Scheme set the standards for environmentally-responsible tourist organisations and we are absolutely committed to supporting their work.
“The bar for achieving the gold award is set very high, and it is a measure of the commitment of the Durham University Museums’ team that we have been able to meet this demanding standard.
“Achievement of the gold award will not however mark an end to our efforts to be environmentally responsible.
“We will continue seek new ways of improving our green credentials and ensuring that our visitors can enjoy their visit to the Oriental Museum in the knowledge that they are also doing their bit to protect our environment.”
The national scheme sees entrants scrutinized on more than 150 separate measures in 10 different areas by independent advisors.
The museum was the focus of a major police investigation after a break-in the night before Good Friday.
Lee Wildman, 35, and Adrian Stanton, 32, both of Walsall, have admitted conspiracy to commit burglary after treasures worth almost £2million were taken.
A Newton hearing, which will decide the facts of their involvement, is to be held before they are sentenced in coming months.