I always say I ended up in museums by accident. My background is in sustainable development. When a job in that area fell through, and I needed something to pay the rent, I thought a museum would be a fun place to learn some new skills. Ten years later, here we are.
Increasingly, fortunately, the dual worlds of culture and sustainable development are converging. Evermore people see culture, the arts, and heritage as a force for good in our societies. Following that trend, today, I am happy to announce and support #MuseumsForFuture, the global movement of museums that support climate action and the #FridaysForFuture campaign.
#MuseumsForFuture started in Austria during the last global climate strike in September, when a group of museums came together to support the strikes. They weren’t the only ones taking action, with many museums contributing to the parallel #ArtStrike movement and other initiatives as well.
Now, for the upcoming global climate strike on 29 November 2019, these initiatives and many others have joined forces in an international #MuseumsForFuture movement. The objective: to get thousands of museums contributing to the #FridaysForFuture movement and taking climate action. There are many ways to get involved. For this first time, we hope that as many museums as possible take decisive action on the 29 November.
To help you take action, #MuseumsForFuture suggests 10 simple actions. Copy-pasted straight from their website:
Ten simple actions museums can take in support of the Fridays For Future movement on 29 November 2019
Most of the ideas below are simple to achieve but do require some preparation. Some directly support the global strike (1-5), others are more museum-y (6-10). Pick what suits you and your organization.
- Welcome strikers in your museum.
Your toilets, tap water, and comfortable seating are assets to strikers.
- Hold a children’s assembly about a sustainable future.
That way, parents are free to march.
- Provide space for teach-ins, sign making, workshops.
Offer your workshop spaces and other rooms in advance to organizers.
- Go on #ArtStrike, put an object on strike.
Here are a toolkit and some more info.
- Archive and create a display of the strike.
Document this all-important movement for posterity, together with the strikers.
- Tell the story of young activists from other times and places.
Create a display showing how movements work and create change.
- Sell only local, plant-based food in your restaurant.
One day is feasible. And then another. And another.
- Make ONE part of your museum’s operations sustainable.
The utility bill, transport, packaging… anything. If you change one thing every time there is a strike, soon you’ll be green as grass!
- Promote the use of public transport to get to your museum.
Give detailed directions and don’t fail to mention the convenience.
- Stop accepting money from fossil fuel companies.
Due diligence on all your funders: no artwashing, no greenwashing.
We encourage all museum professionals to join the strike, and all managers and leaders lend their support. Take photos of your actions and share them with the #MuseumsForFuture hashtag or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you care to learn more: museumsforfuture.org. This is also where you can sign up to the movement’s newsletter. I’m looking forward to following the hashtag and the developments on this movement in the coming months!
Header image from the current Olafur Eliasson exhibition at Tate Modern.