Looking to connect with any exhibit managers or designers who are doing research about how to best create sustainable and low-carbon footprint exhibits in their museums. I am especially interested in research about how material and equipment choices affect BIPOC communities and what choices lead to improved environmental justice. Would love to share resources. Let me know if you know of any research being done in this area, what you are doing to do better, or if this is a topic that intersts you.
I actually just submitted a session proposal to ACM on this subject, focusing most specifically on exhibit materials. For us, we just created an exhibit, Dream Tomorrow Today, in which we tried to reduce the amount of overt plastics, in part due to the environmental justice issues around vinyl and the like. Fingers crossed the session gets accepted. I will share the results if we wind up putting together the session. Feel free to reach out directly if you'd like more specific information on the work we're doing at The DoSeum.
Vice President of Exhibits
Yes. Would love to see more. Please do share the session if you put it together. Thank you for doing the work.
Sustainability and environmental justice were part of the process when I was a major Aquarium.
Now, as a small design firm, we try to use the same intentionality. Materials, product life cycle, vendor and contractor choices are all part of the program.
Sadly, there are still not a lot of great choices for materials in graphics
One great resource is this website for museum materials.
I would love to see your research when it is ready to share. Sounds like you are doing some great work. I love the idea of concentrating on waste and reuse at both the beginning and the end of the project.
The best options for tracking carbon footprint that I have found are this database:
Which has some great carbon footprint equivalent numbers for a lot of materials used in exhibitions. It was funded by an NEH grant and is missing some data. Hopefully, they can get some more grant funding to fill it out a bit more.
And this free database that is more for building construction materials, but can also be useful for exhibitions:
You need to create an account to access this data, but it is free to use. You can get EPDs (which tell you carbon equivalent GWP, and much more information about the products). You can also see a range of carbon footprint for those materials in different parts of the world and what to expect.
I am starting to use these to resources to create a spreadsheet for exhibitions to calculate an estimated carbon footprint and to help us make decisions that reduce the carbon we are using.
Douglas Flandro, LEED AP BD+C, LEED AP ID+C, CPHC®
he | him | his CambridgeSeven 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138 p: 617.492.7000 c: 617.868.5864 www.cambridgeseven.com
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Gaylord has a demountable exhibit case collection designed for reusability and sustainability. The museums we work with really appreciate being able to contunually repurpose the cases exhibit after exhibit instead of having to throw-out and repurchase cases to fit new designs. www.gaylord.com/AXS. Would love to tell you more if you are interested!
All the best,
When I was at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI), we received a large grant from the National Science Foundation to research and develop tools for creating and evaluating exhibits from a triple bottom line (social, economic, and environmental) perspective to increase the sustainability of exhibit design processes and products. You can learn more about the project and our findings here: https://www.informalscience.org/sustainability-promoting-sustainable-decision-making-informal-education. Unfortunately, the website that housed all of the resources we created no longer exists, but feel free to be in touch with me and I can share more.
actually this post is mainly to be in the loop, interesting topic. I know a lot can be done, but at the end of the day, I strongly believe that either the museum (director) wants to pursue sustainability or not. Certifications, public statements, projects, all that is fine, but at the end it all comes down to whether an institution is committed or not.
We have an active group at the german museum association, a recent interesting document I found on this issue is this (lots more available, I assume this kind of papers are known, if not, let me know and I will upload more).
I am familiar with the SEDC Toolkit, as I wrote it. The updated version is here: https://www.mindfulmaterials.com/museum-pledge
Would definitely be intersted if you have more similar papers. The toolkit is meant to be a work in progress.
I wanted to be sure you are aware of the STiCH website as a resource. Its Carbon Calculator allows you to compare the carbon impact of various materials based on life cycle assessment data. The Foundation for Advancement in Conservation was just awarded a two-year grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to expand and improve the calculator based on user feedback.
I didn't realize they received an additional grant. That is fantastic news. Do you know how we can submit feedback?
There is a contact form and email address (STICH@culturalheritage.org) on the About page of the site: https://stich.culturalheritage.org/about/. You can also just email directly if you'd like.
I am a retired museum executive director and I would be interested in this discussion as I work on an exhibition of my own art that is dealing with issues of social justice and climate change.
Jan MIrenda Smith
Contrapposto Muse Strategies LLC
I am an organizing member of Art + Climate Action, and we are hosting a Zoom-based community meeting on Sustainable Exhibition Design this Friday, October 6th. Here's the link to register: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZcpde-orT8iH902Ik_DK6XUKjy67TRgjarb
A+CA is also a member of PACT (Partners on Art and Climate Targets). PACT is an international coalition of organizations within the visual arts engaged in collaborative efforts to accelerate the sector's broad adoption of collective climate action. They include: Art to Acres, Art + Climate Action, Art/Switch, Art to Zero, Artists Commit, Galleries Commit, Gallery Climate Coalition, Ki Culture. Many of these organizations have conducted extensive research on how art spaces big and small can reduce their climate impact. For starters, I would recommend checking out GCC's website, under Resources: https://galleryclimatecoalition.org/
I also invite you to check out A+CA's video library which includes recordings of previous community meetings on topics that range from climate conscious shipping to waste and materials: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVTgNkNF4SiQUXEqVkGIhSg
Art + Climate Action, Director
Wow, these are great resources. Thank you!
Another resource I haven't seen on the rich thread to your response is the American Institute for Conservation's sustainability resource page (developed by AIC Sustainability Committee, of which I'm a member). Information on figuring out the Life Cycle Assessment of a material may be particularly useful. The link is here
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