Staff engagement and sustainability: The British Museum Bee Club

Before Christmas, the British Museum announced to staff what is surely one of the most exciting initiatives for the new year: a British Museum Bee Club!

In the summer of 2014, while participants were taking part in this year’s ITP, a colony of honey bees were welcomed on to the new “green roof” of the World Conservation and Exhibitions Centre.

A green roof is a space on top of urban buildings which allows the growth of gardens, allotments and other green habitats within cities.

The green roof, with gardening space, solar panels, and beehives

The green roof, with gardening space, solar panels, and beehives. Photo credit: The British Museum

With the bee population in decline, there have been numerous efforts to “bring the bees back”, and these bees have been introduced as as part of the Inmidtown Urban Bee Project.

British Museum staff now have the opportunity to train as beekeepers with staff from the Urban Bee Project, and learn more about sustainability and the environmental impact of urban life.

It is also a great way to keep staff engaged with museum initiatives – more than just witnesses to organisational changes, we can be a vital part of these projects and contribute to their success.

Our museum bees

Our museum bees. Photo credit: The British Museum

Our bees live in an Inmidtown ‘Habi-Sabi’  hive produced by a company called 51% Studios, and are cared for by a team of beekeepers, Luke, Maddie, and Harry, who manage a number of hives in the local area as part of the Urban Bee Project, and across London including at the Natural History Museum.

Our beekeepers

Our beekeepers. Photo credit: The British Museum

I will keep you all updated as I undergo training to be a bona fide “museum beekeeper” – and perhaps I’ll be able to take home some honey!

Do you have a green roof, bee hives or anything similar in your institution, maybe a garden or any on-going environmental projects? Share your stories in the comments below!

With very special thanks to internal communications, human resources and the trainers at the British Museum for providing this information. Also thanks and credit to BM photographers for the images used in this post. Please do not re-use images without permission.