Museums are not neutral. Our sector enjoys a level of public trust and respect that few other institutions even come close to matching. It is critical that we help our communities understand the challenges we are facing and bring people together to take collective action in this climate crisis.
As mentioned in our recent post Why We Need Climate Action Now, museums enjoy one of the highest levels of public trust and 75% of people want museums to recommend action. But translating the need for action on a global scale into actions for individual organizations can be daunting. The scope, scale, and threats of climate change are overwhelming, but it’s important to remember that museums and heritage professionals have the ability to lead their communities in positive change.
If you are looking for ways to take action, the BCMA is curating an evolving list of resources to spark climate advocacy and examples of museum, gallery, and science centre programming that supports climate action. If you have examples you would like to share with us, please email us.
Resources for Climate Advocacy
Resources on Old-Growth Forests
Examples of Climate Action Programs in Museums
Do you have exhibits, lesson plans, activities, or past work you’d like to share with our sector? Send us an email and we will add your resources to this list.
Examples from BC
Resources for Emergency Preparedness
BC Heritage Emergency Response Network
BC HERN is a growing association of institutions in B.C.’s arts and culture sector, who believe that our best line of defence is emergency preparedness, salvage training, and joining forces to support each other.
Western Museums Association
Our American colleagues at the Western Museums Association have compiled a list of useful resources to help members become more knowledgeable around natural disasters, to help institutions be more prepared and to develop or update an existing Emergency Response Plan.
Canadian Conservation Institute
CCI offers a hotline for Canada’s heritage community in the aftermath of a fire, flood, earthquake or other catastrophes.
Museums and heritage organizations can call 1-866-998-3721 day or night and press 0 for Security.
During non-working hours, the operator will request the following details from you:
- your name, institution, location, and your telephone number;
- the nature of the collection affected;
- the type, extent, and severity of damage; and
- what action, if any, has been taken so far.
Museums Assistance Program
Emergency assistance is available through the Museums Assistance Program to help heritage institutions undertake urgent remedial action to mitigate damage to collections caused by a natural disaster, e.g. forest fire, flood, earthquake, etc. This assistance is available year-round to all incorporated non-profit Canadian museums. Funding for an eligible project can be up to 100% of eligible expenses up to a maximum of $50,000. Institutions facing such a crisis should contact the Museums Assistance Program Team for further information.
Check back regularly for updates to this list. If we missed your favourite climate action resources or if you have any question, please send us an email.
In the meantime, make sure to visit our partners at the Coalition of Museums for Climate Justice.
New Podcast Series!
BCMA is excited to announce the BCMA’s Climate Action Podcast Series. New episodes will be available here and wherever you download the BCMA podcast!
BCMA Climate Action Podcast Series EP1: Dr. Deondre Smiles
In this episode, Dr. Smiles discusses the legacies of settler colonialism in environmentalism and climate action, as well as the potential role of the cultural sector in reimagining stewardship, centering Indigenous ways of knowing, and creative ways of relating with living environments, including more-than-human kin, in an era of climate crisis.
BCMA Climate Action Podcast Series EP02: Value Nature - Chantal & Lauren
How does culture connect to climate action? How do we value nature? What are museums roles’ in preserving and advocating for natural, intangible and tangible heritage? How can museums center Indigenous knowledge in climate action and disrupt legacies of settler colonialism in climate action?
BCMA Climate Action Podcast Series EP03: A Conversation with the BC Heritage Emergency Response Network (Part One)
In this third episode of our #CALM series, we speak with Tara Fraser (Vancouver Art Gallery) and Heidi Swierenga (Museum of Anthropology at UBC), two members of the BC Heritage Emergency Response Network (BC HERN) steering committee.
BCMA Climate Action Podcast Series EP04: BC HERN's Salvage Trip to Lytton, BC
In this fourth episode of our #CALM series, we speak with Tara Fraser (Vancouver Art Gallery) and Heidi Swierenga (Museum of Anthropology at UBC), two members of the BC Heritage Emergency Response Network (BC HERN) steering committee. Tara, Heidi, and volunteers from BC HERN were able to go to Lytton BC in October to assist with the salvage and recovery of items from the Lytton Chinese History Museum and the Lytton Museum & Archives.