Today’s Guest Post is by M. Christine Castle, Canadian climate activist and retired museum consultant. From 2017-2019 Dr. Castle was the Blog Editor and a member of the CMCJ’s founding Advisory Group.
As the Coalition of Museums for Climate Justice prepares to transition to a new website this seems like a good time to celebrate!
From the practical to the philosophical, from the local to the international, from big to small museums of all types, the last four years of posts from the Coalition of Museums for Climate Justice (CMCJ) Blog are provocative but full of hope. We celebrate and honour each and every writer who took the time and energy and courage to share their thoughts and experiences regarding some aspect of museums and climate. Every writer is a hero in our eyes – and every post makes its own unique contribution to the literature. I encourage you to (re)visit them all here!
In reverse order, here are the top five most visited blog posts since the CMCJ blog began in 2017.
#5 How Can Museums Contribute to Solving the Climate Change Crisis? – Reflecting on the Royal Ontario Museum’s Initiative
In the most highly read post of 2020, this article by Douglas Worts aims to examine how new professional positions within museums, like the Royal Ontario Museum’s “Curator of Climate Change,” might lead to new and better understanding of how to catalyze visions, both institutional and across the living culture, that might lead to meaningful impacts. Read more here.
#4 Museums and climate change: what ‘should’ they be doing? AND No more excuses -15 things your museum should be doing about climate change
In this popular two part series from 2019, Henry McGhie outlines a set of ‘shoulds’ that he thinks have some usefulness, based on what museums’ strengths and capabilities are, and what the world needs. He explains how these 15 ‘shoulds’ can be applied to all museums, of any scale or subject, and can be picked up by all museum workers, to help them support climate action constructively. Read more here.
What are the pros and cons of permanent versus temporary exhibits? How might we make our exhibition practices more sustainable? Using four real life examples, David Jensen explores these perennial questions in this 2018 post. Read more here
Way back in 2017, Joshua Lichty encouraged museums to accept the need to operate on a greener level as the first step in the process of making the organization more sustainable. And, he acknowledged, with limited time, money and staff not many museums have environmental sustainability on the top of their to-do list. He went on to share 10 simple steps to demonstrate museums don’t need to demolish your existing building or undertake a massive renovation to make your museums more environmentally conscious or sustainable. Read more here.
And, finally, drum roll please, the MOST VISITED CMCJ BLOG POST OF 2017-2021 is
Erin Richardson and Douglas Worts considered the conundrum that collections care is seen by museums as central to their missions, while being a source of carbon emissions. They went on to explain in this 2018 post,
Collection-related activity therefore requires a close review of the assumptions underpinning this traditional museum function, including meeting optimal environmental standards, the necessity of objects in the museum, and the need to continuously expand.The True Costs of Collecting – Museums, Climate, and Carbon
Just a reminder that there are many “hidden gems” amongst our blog posts for 2017-2021 that for whatever reason (timing, title, etc., etc.) did not make the list of greatest hits. I encourage you to check out the complete list here – SOON, as this website won’t last forever …
M. Christine Castle is a retired museum consultant and continuing community-based climate activist in Canada. Dr. Castle was a member of the CMCJ’s founding Advisory Group and the Blog Editor 2017-2019 and intermittently 2020-2021. She holds a B.A. in Modern History from the University of Toronto (1975), M.A. in Teaching, Museum Education (1981) from The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. and a Ph.D. in Education from the University of Toronto (2001). She is forever grateful for the opportunity to have worked with the amazing group of people who wrote for the CMCJ Blog during her tenure as editor.