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Green Museums Summit

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Day One: 26 February 2024

All times are GMT (the time in London)

14:00 GMT

documenta: On the way to sustainable major art exhibitions?

documenta is one of the most renowned art exhibitions in the world. Every five years, it brings together the art and culture world in Kassel and attracts over 800,000 visitors to the city in the center of Germany. At the latest with documenta fifteen, the executing organization has made it its business to take social and ecological sustainability seriously as an all-encompassing cross-sectional task.

In doing so, it faces challenges: Is a temporary art exhibition conceived as a mega-event even capable of acting sustainably? Is this a contradiction in terms?

Since 2020, the world’s most important exhibition series for contemporary art, presented every five years, has been a member of the Action Network Sustainability in Culture and Media (ANKM), a cross-disciplinary contact point for cultural institutions that have signed up to the climate protection goals of the German government, the Paris Agreement and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.

Operationally optimized processes, even if complete climate neutrality cannot be achieved, are intended to reduce the CO2 footprint to a minimum, closed material cycles ensure the careful use of resources, and improvements in issues of participation and accessibility ensure greater social sustainability. Insights into the ongoing implementation process are offered by the executive director of the nonprofit in his talk for the Green Museum Summit.

14:30 GMT

We Can Stop Talking About Climate Change

It’s generally considered that one of the best ways to make societies advance on climate change solutions is by talking about climate change with as many people as possible. But is this the only way? Or even the best one? In this talk, the Allan and Helaine Shiff Curator of Climate Change at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Canada discusses how a shift in communications strategy, removing climate change as the core topical focus, might actually help us accelerate progress on the climate front.

15:00 GMT

Crafting Tomorrow: Humanity Exhibition Unveils Sustainable Gems

‘Humanity’ is more than an exhibit; it’s a step towards a mindful, sustainable, inclusive museum experience.” Our commitment to decolonization led us to develop a sustainable, immersive experience where eco-friendliness and indigenous knowledge create Afrocentric designs from local, durable materials. Explore the collaboration between Material Scientists and Exhibition Designers as we share our sustainable printing journey, guided by the fusion of theoretical knowledge and practical considerations. Addressing challenges against the backdrop of museum logistical feasibility. We also present a retrospective examination of materials, scrutinizing their sustainability for future insights. Join us in reshaping museums for a greener, socially conscious future.

15:30 GMT

Remaking Our World, One Exhibition at a Time

Find out more about the extensive content and programmes on sustainability that the National Museum of Singapore has developed in conjunction with Plastic: Remaking Our World, a travelling exhibition from the Vitra Design Museum. In this presentation, we share about the Plastics in Our Lives educational zone, which takes the form of a home with everyday objects, touch sensors, a game element, and a participative microplastics artwork. We also share steps that we have taken towards making the exhibition more sustainable, from crowdsourcing used items to trying out new materials.

16:00 GMT

NASA's Earth Information Center

In June 2023, NASA unveiled the Earth Information Center (EIC), part of NASA’s Earth Action Strategy aimed at amplifying NASA’s Earth science impact by engaging decision-makers beyond the scientific community. Existing in both physical and virtual space, the EIC provides critical information on how the planet is changing and affecting livelihoods across the globe. Visitors to the EIC at NASA Headquarters in Washington D.C., can interact with Earth observation data and models through innovative exhibits and storytelling. Designed by an interdisciplinary team, the EIC is designed for multiple modality learning to reach a wide base of end-users.

16:30 GMT

BREAK

17:00 GMT

Strategies To Slash Waste And Maximise Building Efficiency at MoMA

The Museum of Modern Art is focused on developing strategic approaches to be a more sustainable and efficient cultural destination for a global audience. Hear from several of MoMA’s dedicated staff working towards drastically reducing waste and energy use in its world-renown campus in the heart of New York City. Director of Exhibition Design and Production, Lana Hum, will share her team’s nimble approach to waste reduction during the exhibition design process. Sr. Project Manager for Real Estate and Sustainability, Jason Smith, will delve into how he is implementing strategies to minimize the Museum’s energy use while accommodating climate needs in the galleries. Sr. Manager for Real Estate and Sustainability, Eliana Glicklich, will provide an insider view into how the Museum has cut its materials and waste by more than 50% and how it’s prioritizing metrics and communication approaches to lessen its carbon footprint and engage its staff and visitors on the sustainability journey.

17:30 GMT

(Organisational) Climate Breakdown

Climate mitigation and adaption is an urgent challenge for heritage organisations. As heritage organisations are struggling to cut carbon emissions, their workforces are increasingly confronted with the alarming reality of the climate and eco emergency. Eco-anxiety is becoming endemic and threatening to affect staff productivity, wellbeing, and motivation. This research explores how eco-positive action and decision making can be embedded in organisational culture to benefit people and planet.

18:00 GMT

Acknowledging Causes. Advocating Change

The Henry Ford began as The Edison Institute in 1929. THF pledges to embed environmental sustainability in its culture, operations and programming by 2029. Green initiatives including benchmarking and energy and waste reduction inform this work. THFs unique role among green museums centers on the culture change required to further sustainability. Success depends on acknowledging that THF’s namesakes Henry Ford and Thomas Edison paved the way for the Anthropocene. THF’s historical resources document that history, and exhibitions and public programs reflect that. This presentation focuses on shifting acknowledgment to advocacy through classroom instruction and community partnerships.

18:30 GMT

Creating an Exhibition with Domestic Wood - To Continue Living on this Earth

The permanent exhibition “Planetary Crisis – To Continue Living on This Earth,” opened in November 2023, is an exhibition that has been created on a trial basis at Miraikan, using domestic wood as the main material, and with consideration for the environment.

In this session, Yamada Chiharu will introduce their efforts to design furniture with reuse in mind, utilize scrap wood and unused wood as materials, and optimize transportation routes, all done on a trial basis. She will also introduce examples of public communication and dialogue, such as workshops involving the public and the production of videos documenting the production process, to encourage people to view these practical efforts to reduce environmental impact as something positive.

Day Two: 27 February 2024

All times are GMT (the time in London)

14:00 GMT

Holding space for youth-led change in museum work

In an era defined by climate change and environmental challenges, museums play a pivotal role in fostering change and shaping perspectives. In this session, advocates for the integration of youth-led initiatives within museum spaces will learn how to engage youth, communities, and colleagues in the development youth-centered programming at their institutions. Drawing from extensive research on intergenerational solidarity and the empowerment of youth change makers, this session aims to inspire museum educators to create environments that amplify the voices of the next generation.

14:30 GMT

Explore: Urban Nature - Learning Together

Find out how National Museums Northern Ireland worked with local SEND students to turn a patch of bare grass into a biodiversity hotspot. Through a series of outreach and on-site sessions KS3 students from local SEND schools had the opportunity to learn about native plant and animal species, what they need to survive, and then applied that learning to create an individual nature plot for their school. Also discover how the Education team at National Museums NI have taken learnings from this project and are planning to weave them through the core learning programme.

15:00 GMT

Come with us on a climate expedition - or how to tell facts about climate change

For years, scientists have agreed on the state of our climate. Scientists keep speaking out and explaining that it is high time to act. But many people don’t take their warnings seriously. In order to make the scientific findings clear to our visitors, we take them on an expedition to the Arctic, let them slip into the role of researchers and research for themselves what happens when the sea ice melts.

15:30 GMT

Rehomed robots and protest placards: a sustainable transformation of Young V&A

Children born today will grow up in a world shaped by climate change. As a museum dedicated to children and young people, the new Young V&A needed to have sustainability embedded in both its physical build and its new galleries.

The team will share details from their work on the museum’s 6-year redevelopment: the renovation of the museum’s infrastructure, the physical language of the galleries and the narratives and objects within. They will also talk about some of the challenges faced when considering sustainability in a museum transformation.

16:00 GMT

Coming to a Shopping Centre Near You!

We museums love our regulars – those enthusiasts we know will show up – but how can we engage people with a limited interest in exhibitions? Especially when these exhibitions address a subject as daunting yet crucial as climate change? Focusing on the Australian Museum’s innovative traveling exhibition ‘Future Now’, we explore ways of connecting sustainability and regeneration to climate cautious and disengaged audiences, as well as meeting the needs of the climate concerned. Stepping out into civic spaces, museums can help to hasten the social tipping points we need to secure more liveable futures.

16:30 GMT

BREAK

17:00 GMT

Rubbish Buildings

A Design Museum made from city waste. Design Museum Gent is undergoing significant redevelopment to transform its historic buildings and decarbonise its operations. In collaboration with material specialists and designers, architects Carmody Groarke are undertaking innovative research into the reuse of building materials, in particular the design of a low-carbon brick made from recycled municipal waste from the city of Gent that will be used to construct the new museum wing. Hear from the team behind the project as they explore the innovative solutions that are helping to create a sustainable future for this 120-year-old museum and its visitors.

17:30 GMT

How to Survive: Considering Care in Exhibitions

Anchorage Museum staff share their experiences developing How to Survive, an exhibition grounded in care for each other and care for the planet. Efforts to reduce our carbon footprint often require an increased amount of staff time, energy, and emotional output, leading our team to consider sustainability as a more holistic endeavor encompassing many aspects of museum work. Addressing curation, design, fabrication, and community outreach—all while centering staff wellness—panelists will share learnings as well as guiding principles that can help us rethink our relationship to the production and display of artworks in an era of climate emergency.

18:00 GMT

Greening the Museum one piece at the time

Join us at the Green Museum Summit, where we will explore how museums can promote environmental awareness and sustainable living through exhibitions and education programs. Explore how the Aga Khan Museum engages visitors through thought-provoking exhibitions, such as Night in the Garden of Love, which sparks dialogue on collaboration and climate change solutions. Discover the Aga Khan Museum’s online, interactive course series, Exploring and Protecting our Waters, designed for elementary school students to learn about SDGs and marine biodiversity, and take action to protect our oceans. Gain valuable insights into program strategies, engagement techniques, and collaboration with stakeholders. Don’t miss this opportunity to contribute to a sustainable future.

18:30 GMT

Climate Powerhouse

In this session Climate Action and Sustainability Manager Carmel Reyes and Program Manager Brianna Barwise meet in the 100 Climate Conversations studio to reflect upon the achievements and future direction of climate action and programming at Powerhouse. They share how Powerhouse is embedding sustainability in practice, engages with audiences on climate change and is embracing a decarbonised future across its four sites.

Powerhouse Museum is recognised internationally as one of the great repositories of shared stories of innovation and achievement across the applied arts and sciences, providing a comprehensive insight into our rich and diverse country.

Opening at a new site in 2025, Powerhouse Parramatta will be a transformational cultural precinct and the first NSW state cultural institution to be based in Western Sydney, on Dharug land, within one of Australia’s fastest growing and most diverse communities.