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Green Museums Summit


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Day One: 27 March 2023

14:00 GMT

Climate Change Mitigation vs. Adaptation in Museums

Everybody is talking about doing something about climate change. And not before time. But the problem for many people is that the task seems enormous, and it is sometimes difficult to decide where to start. And the terminology can be confusing: zero carbon, demand reduction, mitigation, climate change risk assessment, resilience, adaptation plans – what does it all mean? This talk explores what on Earth is going on and cuts through the jargon. It also offers advice on practical steps for implementing actions in museums that will make the organisation more resilient, protect the collections, save money, and reduce your carbon footprint. For individuals as organisations, the starting point is often not where the largest impact can be achieved, but where we have most control over processes. Much of what we achieve is about communication, and this talk will therefore also cover relationships and influence. You will leave this presentation with a few ideas of how to start making changes in your organisation, and the practical steps needed to implement them.

14:30 GMT

From climate change helplessness to climate empowerment

More museums are interested in climate issues, and the Museum of Ethnography, Geneva, is no exception. But in the context of growing eco-anxiety, a museum must not only echo the climate crisis. It must also offer concrete tools to transform the feeling of helplessness into cultural and climate empowerment.

This presentation shares how MEG is combining storytelling with action. Working with expert indigenous representatives to tell “their” climate change story and stakeholders to develop activities that discuss the climate crisis while offering concrete steps to implement here and now.

15:00 GMT

Shifting Climate Concern into Climate Curiosity

We know that audiences care deeply about the climate crisis, and that they think museums have a strong remit to lead the conversation. But we also know that a tidal wave of sustainability messaging has left audiences with, at best, green fatigue, and worst, feelings of helplessness and dread – both of which are the enemies of engagement. Through the lens of the Design Museum’s ‘Waste Age’ exhibition, this session explores what we can do to support audiences through the climate crisis in a way that feels not only important and worthy, but genuinely interesting, sparking debate and further curiosity.

15:30 GMT

An Art Intervention for the Climate

Imagine a high-level environmental meeting with hundreds of delegates on a beautiful summer day in Stockholm. Now imagine a Turner-prize winning artist who creates an artwork where the delegates and thousands of other people are given climate friendly energy bars, or edible sculptures if you will, to remind them that food has an enormous impact on the climate. That same day five thousand school children are served a future food lunch with insect protein. Do you see it? You are looking at Moderna Museet’s recent project with Jeremy Deller. Tune in to hear the full story.

16:00 GMT

Voyages: the intersection of art and science

Artists and scientists are cut from the same cloth: inquisitive, truth-seekers, rule-breakers. They depend on each other to communicate and inspire action. At the National Aquarium, located in Baltimore, Maryland, a new program unites these disciplines under a shared desire to protect our blue planet, all with a goal of engaging a new-to-us audience. Tune in to learn about Voyages, an immersive event series by and for the community, in which local artists connect with our expert staff as well as scientists in the field, then translate their research into a reimagined Aquarium experience.

16:30 GMT

The Wild Escape

Led by Art Fund and supported by Arts Council England, The Wild Escape is the largest ever initiative of its kind to bring together the museum community.

The project which brings together more than 500 partners will encourage children to create wildlife artworks based on animals featured in the museum collections – artworks which will then be brought to life in an “epic-scale artwork” to be created by BAFTA-winning games studio, PRELOADED.

Discover the story behind The Wild Escape in this presentations from the Art Fund.

17:00 GMT


17:30 GMT

Sustainability in museum retail

Manchester Museum will reopen in February 2023 following a £15m transformation – a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to expand the museum and rethink how it cares for the world and its inhabitants. The mission is to build understanding between cultures and a more sustainable world, and this is driven by the museum’s values to be inclusive, imaginative and caring. This commitment extends to every corner of the building, including our shop. Visitors will find a much bigger beautifully decorated museum gift shop on the ground floor, designed by Lancashire based Artistry House. The products on offer will be inspired by the museum’s collections and made by local, diverse and sustainable suppliers. One of the main objectives of the sustainable retail strategy is to move away from single-use plastics across all product areas, particularly children’s toys.

18:00 GMT

Learnings from an Exhibition Carbon Study

Understanding the impacts from the design and creation of exhibitions is paramount to developing strategies for a more sustainable future for museums. Join the folks leading the Guggenheim’s sustainability strategy as we share what we’ve learned and how we will continue to uncover further opportunities for sustainable innovation.

18:30 GMT

Finding Agency - Facility Managers as Conservators

The new agency of a museum facilities manager is understanding the earth IS the ultimate reliquary. The modern Facilities/Building Manager is now tasked to recommend efficient practices, source equipment that harnesses renewable energy, and improve overall infrastructure in response to climate change in the (dare I say it) Anthropocene. Historically a museum building manager has never had a more integral responsibility. Self-evident considerations of collection conservation now require both short and long-term development of a facilities resiliency, efficiency and sustainability. Tasked like never before as front-line partners with museum leadership, curators, conservators, engineers, architects, local municipalities, and more, a museum’s building manager wears a new, very critical hat.

19:00 GMT

Zero Miles Zero Waste Touring Exhibition

Imagine a touring exhibition that had zero shipping miles and zero waste, and yet could facilitate the exchange of ideas between communities across the globe. Sounds impossible, doesn’t it? Yet after years of designing exhibitions for provincial museums in Aotearoa/ New Zealand I have successfully trialed a zero waste zero shipping exhibition, and then realized in the process that it has the potential to exist simultaneously in venues anywhere in the world, and to facilitate and express an ongoing conversation between curator, designer, and communities.

19:30 GMT

Catalyzing a movement to regenerate nature

We are bombarded by messaging of impending apocalypse from climate change and biodiversity loss, leaving many of us numb, fearful, or hopeless. Museums, aquariums, and zoos are in a unique position to shift this eco-crisis narrative, reveal a more hopeful future, and catalyze a movement to regenerate nature. Imagine an influential subset of cultural institutions joining forces to spread an inspiring new story that builds on the youth-driven movement interweaving climate, biodiversity, and social justice. A trio of campaigns focused on raising awareness, boosting understanding, and catalyzing actions inside and beyond our walls can get us started. Will you join?

Day Two: 28 March 2023

14:00 GMT

Working together to solve a wicked problem

At the heart of one of Europe’s oldest cultural quarters are four historic institutions – V&A, Science Museum, Natural History Museum and Imperial College – all of which have made Net Zero commitments. They must decarbonise their energy to achieve this. However, with limited space for renewables, and the need for energy resilience, could a local heat network be the solution? Can shared infrastructure save carbon and money? How can working together solve one of our biggest challenges? Tune in to find out.

14:30 GMT

Sustainability as Team Sport

In August 2022, eleven art institutions founded the initiative ‘Eleven to Zero’. It aims to bring about tangible change in the operations of museums and reach net-zero emissions in the long run. Over six months, the participating institutions calculated their carbon footprints, trained 20 people as “transformation managers”, formed a strong and diverse network and defined a work schedule for the future. This presentation will take you behind the scenes of the project and share insight on how to approach sustainability as a team sport.

15:00 GMT

Into the deep. The venture of a carbon neutral exhibition

The Zeppelin Museum Friedrichshafen is one of four museums in Germany to receive “Fonds Zero” funding from the German Federal Cultural Foundation. With this funding, the museum has committed itself to presenting its next exhibition, “Into the deep. Mines of the Future”, in a climate-neutral way, with only 1% of the resulting emissions being offset. 

Tune in to discover the steps the curatorial team has taken to implement this challenge.

15:30 GMT

Our Journey with the UN Sustainable Development Goals

In this presentation presentation Mark Chee is the Deputy Director for Projects and Sustainability for Singapore Art Museum and National Gallery Singapore describes their nascent journey into sustainability with UN Sustainability Development Goals

16:00 GMT

Built for the Future

In June 2021, the new National Museum in Oslo opened to the public. Planned and built for over a decade, the building is constructed with sustainability and care for the environment in mind. 

The building follows the rules for “Future Built”, reducing the carbon footprint by more than 50% throughout its lifetime. But once you open the doors to the public, how do you reflect this care for the environment in how you use it? Tune in to find out. 

16:30 GMT


17:00 GMT

Museum Architecture in the Age of the Anthropocene

The Edelman Fossil Park Museum aims to build a community around the themes of discovery and responsible stewardship of the planet, so its building must fully embrace those values. Under construction now, it will be New Jersey’s largest public net zero facility—no fossil fuels will be combusted for museum operations, and no greenhouse gasses will be released into the atmosphere. 

Tune in to hear Director Dr. Kenneth Lacovara, architect Thomas Wong, and experiential designer Gretchen Coss about the process to get there, and the conversations museums should be having with their architects and experience design teams about green and sustainable design.

17:30 GMT

Using a Local Heat Network and Data Science to Reduce our Carbon Footprint

Learn how the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art reduced its carbon footprint with minimal capital investment, a local heat network and data science.

This presentation shares the innovative public sector energy project powering the gallery. It looks at how energy usage has been cut by analysing usage and making small but significant changes based on this data.

18:00 GMT

Planetopia: Museum for World Change

The Museum of Communications’ new exhibition, “Planetopia – Space for world change”, has been created with a strong focus on environmental action for the museum and its visitors. 

Designed to create minimal environmental impact. 90% of all materials and devices used in “Planetopia – Space for world change” are re-used, But it does not look old. 

And Planetopia is more than an exhibition. It is a platform to connect and motivate people to act more sustainably in their lives and communities. Tune in to find out more.

18:30 GMT

Race to Zero: Insights Gained Along the Path to Carbon Neutrality

The heating, cooling and powering of buildings is a significant source of the emissions driving climate change, but there is tremendous potential to dramatically improve the energy performance of buildings to the benefit of those who own and operate them; those who live, work, and play in them; and of the global atmosphere. 

This presentation shares how museums can showcase and champion the clean energy economy, and its many economic, employment, equity, education and environmental benefits. It has never been more necessary to act on climate change, nor has it been more possible.

19:00 GMT

Working Together Towards Sustainable Museums

Museums hold both the potential and responsibility to tackle environmental issues. But it can be challenging to find the best solutions to improve museums’ sustainability practices. In Finland, 13 museums have joined forces to respond to the growing concern about climate change. 

The ‘Climate Promise of Museums in Southwest Finland’ consists of concrete actions that improve museums’ environmental agency and make permanent changes in their operational models. 

Tune in to find out how the museums are learning together to reach the common goal.