Institute of Archaeology


International Museums Day 2021: Reimagining Museums for Climate Action website re-launched

18 May 2021

The Reimagining Museums for Climate Action project, developed by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Heritage Priority Area, is relaunching its website as part of International Museums Day 2021.

Reimagining Museums for Climate Action international design competition

A year ago today, for International Museums Day 2020, an international design competition was launched, which aimed to explore how museums could help society make the deep, transformative changes needed to achieve a net-zero or zero-carbon world.

Rather than focus on a specific location or type of museum, the competition invited proposals that aimed to unsettle and subvert the very foundations of museological thinking to support and encourage meaningful climate action.  Design and concept proposals that were radically different from the ‘traditional’ museum, or that explored new ways for traditional museums to operate, were specifically requested. The responses, which could address any aspect of museum design and activity, ranged from the fantastical to the highly practical.

Over 250 submissions were received from 48 countries, with proposals from architects, designers, activists, artists, student groups, academics, indigenous communities and those already working in museums globally. Eight teams were invited to develop their ideas for an exhibition at Glasgow Science Centre (GSC). The exhibition will open in June in advance of, and throughout the time when it will become the official “green zone” for COP26, the United Nation's Climate Change Conference (Glasgow, November 2021). The exhibition is integrated within the Powering the Future display at the science centre to highlight the crucial role cultural institutions have to play in shaping the world of tomorrow.

Today, for International Museums Day 2021, an expanded version of the Reimagining Museums for Climate Action website is being relaunched which provides virtual access to the exhibition in advance of the GSC’s re-opening in June 2021. Divided into three sections - Rethink, Reimagine and Mobilise - the site includes research material from the project team, a suite of concepts imagining possible museum futures in the climate change era drawing on the exhibition at GSC, and key resources to inspire radical climate action in the sector and beyond. More material, including a museums toolkit and a book which expands on the exhibition concepts, will be added to the site in the run up to COP26. All of these resources will be freely available to download.

Reimagining Museums for Climate Action is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

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