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This week is Scotland's Climate Week, an annual event to raise awareness of the global climate emergency and encourage climate action across the country. At the Museum of Edinburgh, we are trying to start conversations about climate change in our revamped museum courtyard. 

A wooden bench with a painted board behind it showing a fox

Courtyard mural

As part of our Think Local, Act Global project funded by Museums Galleries Scotland, we worked with local primary schools to create a mural that celebrates wildlife and plants that can be found in and around Edinburgh. Primary 7 classes from Royal Mile Primary School and Abbeyhill Primary School created a beautiful mural that we hope will encourage discussion about the importance of our natural environment and what we can all do to help protect it. 

Carbon capture benches

New bench seating was made by our Museum Technician using reclaimed pallet and scaffold boards that might otherwise have ended up in landfill. When wood goes to landfill, it decays and releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Can you spot the insect hotels underneath?

A biodiverse garden

A mixture of plants and herbs have been added to the courtyard to attract pollinators, insects and birds. We are experimenting with growing edible plants such as gooseberries and blackcurrants, as well as adding mint, coriander, thyme and rosemary to the new planters. Growing our own food is an excellent way to reduce food miles and food waste.


Biochar has been added to the soil and planters around the courtyard to store carbon and improve the soil's fertility. Biochar is made using surplus wood which stops the wood from entering landfill.


As part of the wider Think Local, Act Global project we held an exhibition inside the museum which ran from March until late August 2022. The exhibition featured artworks by Edinburgh school children and objects from the museum collections which we hoped would encourage discussion about how our lifestyles have an impact on the environment. Topics included upcycling, food miles, climate activism, sustainable materials and transport. Visitors were invited to contribute to our pledge tree by writing about things they will do to help the environment.  


We held several events to engage local communities in conversations about the environment. A family day was held in April for children whose artworks were displayed in the exhibition, and we held planting days with our volunteers and groups from The Crannie, a local community hub. We've recently recruited a new team of volunteers to help ensure that the courtyard is a welcoming space for everyone to enjoy.

A special thank you

At the start of this project the Museum of Edinburgh courtyard had been closed to the public for over a year due to the Covid pandemic. A lot of work was needed to make it an accessible space once again and this was all done by a community payback team. A team of eight people cleared the overgrown weeds, cleaned the flagstones, built new planters and seating and added a gravel path. Their commitment and enthusiasm for the project has made the courtyard a welcoming space for visitors and local communities to enjoy. 


A huge thanks also to Museums Galleries Scotland for funding the project!


This project helps to deliver The City of Edinburgh Council's 2030 Climate Strategy to become a climate ready, net zero city. For more information about Scotland's climate week, visit


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