Category: Climate change

Collecting the future

How should museums engage and respond to climate change? How can we use our collections, exhibitions and programs and our traditions of fostering conversation and debate to help communities make sense of this global challenge? A few weeks ago, I travelled to the American Museum of Natural History in New York in the United States, to talk with other curators, educators, scientists and scholars about these complicated and challenging questions....

Food: connections and resilience

‘Eating is an ecological act’, wise farmer and writer Wendell Berry famously wrote in his 1989 essay ‘The Pleasures of Eating’. Ecological thinking reveals connections, enacts relationships. At the National Museum of American History, one branch of the great Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC, a new exhibition titled ‘Food: transforming the American table 1950-2000’ contains a fascinating array of historical objects that enable understanding about the embeddedness of our bodies, through eating,...

What the new IPCC report doesn’t say

Cultural institutions like the National Museum of Australia specialise in storytelling. We use collections to engage people in conversations about the meanings and the emotional aspects of environmental and social change. The Diana Boyer collection, for example, contains remarkable artworks, some of which creatively link one Australian farmer’s detailed knowledge of local plant and animal species with the globalised dynamics of climate change.