The exhibition, Reimagining Museums for Climate Action, features eight exhibits developed by teams from Scotland and the rest of the UK, the United States, Singapore, Indonesia and Brazil.

The exhibition has been curated by a group of academics and museum practitioners as part of a project led by University College London and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

The eight exhibits were selected from over 250 entries by a team of international judges.

The competition challenged entrants to reimagine and redesign museums and galleries as institutions that can help bring more equitable and sustainable futures.

The exhibition will remain in place until November, when COP26 arrives in the city.

Emma Woodham, climate change programme manager, Glasgow Science Centre, said: “The exhibition invites everyone to reimagine the role of museums and science centres in creating a more sustainable future.

Dundee Museum of Transport’s exhibit asks how traditional museums could help society adopt sustainable forms of transport.

The Brazilian Natural Future Museums exhibit asks whether we could, or should, confer museum status on indigenous lands in forests, and recognise indigenous people’s significant ecological knowledge.

Woodham continued: “Museums and centres like ours can come together to address climate change internationally, beginning with our own carbon footprint.

“At Glasgow Science Centre we are transforming our outside space to improve our biodiversity and strengthen our sustainable transport links, for example. We’re also working towards achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2030”.

“We want to inform, inspire and empower people of all ages and backgrounds to engage with COP26 and take action in their own lives - just as we’re doing at Glasgow Science Centre.”

Earlier this year, for International Museum Day 2021, the Reimagining Museums for Climate Action project team launched an expanded version of the Museums for Climate Action website, to provide virtual access to the exhibition. The site includes research material, a suite of submissions to the competition and key resources to inspire radical climate action in the sector and beyond.

More material, including a museums’ toolkit and a book that expands on the exhibition concepts, will be added to the site in the run up to COP26. All the resources will be free to download, to support global museums and their partners to accelerate their contributions to climate action. 

Reimagining Museums for Climate Action is on show at Floor 2 of Glasgow Science Centre.

Glasgow Times:

Project Team

The Reimagining Museums for Climate Action exhibition is curated by Professor Rodney Harrison (UCL Institute of Archaeology and AHRC Heritage Priority Area Leadership Fellow), Dr Colin Sterling (University of Amsterdam), and Henry McGhie (Curating Tomorrow). The research project, of which the exhibition is a part, is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), and also involves Janna Oud Ammerveld and Dr Rowan Gard, both based at University College London.

The exhibition was developed in consultation with Robin Hoyle, Jenny Templeman, Graham Rose and Emma Woodham at Glasgow Science Centre. 

The exhibition 

The exhibition comprises an introduction and eight individual exhibits which were developed by eight competition winning teams in consultation with the curators. These include the following: 

Weathering With Us (Isabella Ong & Tan Wen Jun; Singapore) which imagines a new kind of contemplative museum space where climate action is materialised in the  very structure and experience of the building. 

Existances (Jairza Fernandes Rocha da Silva, Nayhara J. A. Pereira Thiers Vieira, João Francisco Vitório Rodrigues, Natalino Neves da Silva, Walter Francisco  Figueiredo Lowande; Brazil) which shows the power of collective knowledge in the fight against climate change, imagining a network of micro-museums embedded in and responding to the diverse lifeworlds of African and Amerindian communities in Brazil. 

Elephant in the Room (Design Earth: Rania Ghosn, El Hadi Jazairy, Monica Hutton & Anhong Li; USA) which offers a fantastical story in which a stuffed elephant comes to life and forces museums and wider society to confront their role in climate change. 

Museum of Open Windows (Livia Wang; Nico Alexandroff; RESOLVE Collective:  Akil Scafe-smith, Seth Scafe-smith, Melissa Haniff; Studio MASH: Max Martin, Angus Smith, Conor Sheehan, UK) which repurposes the existing global infrastructure of museums to support inter-community collaboration and citizen research on climate change and climate action. 

Dundee Museum of Transport (Peter Webber, Alexander Goodger, Matthew Wong, Wendy Maltman and Katherine Southern, UK) which asks how a traditional museum might evolve to address the contemporary challenge of sustainable travel in an inclusive way. 

Story:Web (The Great North Museum: Hancock; Open Lab: Simon Bowen; The  Tyndall Centre/CAST: Sarah Mander; David de la Haye; UK) which mobilises existing museum collections to empower people to curate their own climate stories, experiences and networks on a global scale. 

A Series of Collective, Non-Statistical Evidence (Kamil Muhammad, Haidar El Haq, Amelia M Djaja, Gregorius Jasson & Ken Fernanda; Indonesia) which applies familiar museum practices of collecting, display and participation to imagine spaces of dialogue, where different communities come together to share and articulate their personal experiences of climate change.

Natural Future Museums (Takumã Kuikuro & Thiago Jesus; Brazil/UK) which asks what it would mean to confer museum status on existing Indigenous lands in forests and other places that play a key role in climate action.