MUSE S-132 Social Relevance: Environmental Sustainability in Museums
The public discussion of the environment and climate change is an important opportunity for museums to connect more deeply with their communities. It is also an opportunity to protect and strengthen these institutions. This course surveys the practical aspects of interpretation and public programming, operational changes, building construction, and community engagement to examine how changes in museum work can deepen museums' connections to their communities and increase museums' charitable value. The course covers the evolution of sustainability in museums over the last fifteen years. Topics include human behavior (the challenge of change, whether in daily practice or major projects, and how museums are so well-suited to support staff, visitors, and communities in making change); mitigation (why and how museums and communities are reducing their negative effects on the environment, and what difference can it make to the environment, the climate, and to social and financial stability); and resilience (why and how museums are creatively helping their communities become more resilient in the face of a changing climate and increased impacts from storm events; how museums can share with the public the scientific and social discoveries enabling widespread change).