Positioned for Change – How the Missouri Historical Society fulfilled its commitment to stewardship and sustainability [Case Study]

Today’s Guest Post is by Angela Moore, LEED AP O+M, TRUE Advisor. Angela is the Facilities and Sustainability Coordinator for the Missouri Historical Society in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, where she is responsible for sustainable operations and programs.

Climate and environmental change has become a rising topic in the museum field.  As communities, institutions and individuals are exploring avenues to decrease their impact on the environment, museums are starting to also explore areas in which they too can combat climate and environmental issues within their communities. Sustainability professionals are emerging within these organizations around the world – and museums have an opportunity to make a greater impact in their environmental efforts with their help.

As a museum and sustainability professional, I have come to acquire a unique perspective of museums within the sustainability field and its environmental and operational benefits to an institution.  Currently, I am the facilities and sustainability coordinator for the Missouri Historical Society located in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA.  The Missouri Historical Society has three entities, the Missouri History Museum, the Library & Research Center and Soldiers Memorial Military Museum

Exterior of the Missouri History Museum
Exterior of the Missouri History Museum, St. Louis, Missouri, USA. Photo courtesy Missouri Historical Society

My role at the Missouri Historical Society is to ensure that as an organization we are fulfilling one of our core values – commitment to stewardship and sustainability.  The Missouri Historical Society’s environmental statement serves as a guide to our commitment towards sustainability.  As an organization we assume responsibility for our role in environmental stewardship, by

  • minimizing our consumption of energy and materials,
  • treating waste responsibly and
  • making sustainable practices an integral part of all operations so as to reduce our environmental footprint. 

As the facilities and sustainability coordinator, I am responsible for upholding our environmental commitments by strengthening our sustainability model and initiatives.

The Missouri Historical Society sustainability model embraces the triple bottom line, people, planet and profit with preservation being a key element that guides our sustainability initiatives.  Preservation of Missouri history and the Saint Louis community propels the Missouri Historical Society to not only implement sustainable practices within our organization but foster and encourage sustainability across the museum field. 

Exterior of the Library & Research Center
Exterior of the Library & Research Center. Photo courtesy Missouri Historical Society

As an organization, we have implemented several sustainable measures to decrease our impact on the environment. 

  • The Missouri Historical Society’s sustainability journey began in 2012 with benchmarking our energy usage at the Missouri History Museum and the Library & Research Center. 
  • After analyzing our energy consumption, we were motivated to decrease our energy usage and conducted an energy audit
  • In 2016, we began to implement several facility improvement measures that were suggested in the audit, which led to a 10% decrease in our energy usage at the Missouri History Museum. 
  • With the success of our energy improvement measures, we continued our efforts further at the Library & Research Center, by converting all fluorescent lighting to LED which experienced an 8% decrease in energy consumption at the completion of the project. 
  • Improvements to the HVAC system at the Library & Research Center aided in the decrease of energy, along with the LED lighting conversion. 
  • As we began to experience the environmental and operational benefits of energy conservation, the Missouri Historical Society explored further sustainability measures, which has led to a LEED gold certification developed by the US Green Building Council (USGBC)for Soldiers Memorial Military Museum.   
  • Our sustainability journey continues at all three of our locations as we strive towards LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certifications for the Missouri History Museum and the Library & Research Center and another green building certification, a TRUE (Total Resource Use and Efficiency) Zero-Waste certification at Soldiers Memorial Military Museum.
Soldiers Memorial Military Museum
Soldiers Memorial Military Museum, St. Louis, Missouri, USA. Photo courtesy Missouri Historical Society

Our environmental impact continues to decrease each year as we strive towards more sustainability measures within the Missouri Historical Society.  Employing sustainability professionals from within the museum field allows museums to have a greater impact on their sustainability model, initiatives and practices.  As a museum and sustainability professional, who is passionate about both history and sustainability, my sincere hope is for all museums to experience the environmental and operational benefits of a sustainability professional within their organization.

Are You Positioned for Change?

Try Some – or All – of the Missouri Historical Society’s Sustainable Measures:

  • Benchmark Energy Use
  • Energy Audit
  • LED Lighting
  • Building Automation System
  • HVAC Improvements
  • Waste Audit
  • Office Supply Swap
  • Integrated Pest Management Program
  • Recycling and Composting
  • Reuse and Repurpose Exhibit Components
  • Increase Native Plantings
  • Engage Employees on Sustainability Topics
  • Implement Paperless Operations
  • Green Your Public Events
  • Utilize Conference Calls, Instead of Travel
  • Partner with Local Sustainability Organizations
  • Explore Green Building Certifications
  • Install Automatic Light Switches
  • Support Local Vendors

For more information about our sustainability efforts, please visit our website at mohistory.org at the bottom of webpage there is a sustainability tab, there you’ll find highlights of our efforts and more information on the sustainability awards we have won.

What are you doing? Please share below.

Angela Moore. Photo courtesy Missouri Historical Society

Angela A. Moore is the Facilities and Sustainability Coordinator for the Missouri Historical Society, where she is responsible for sustainable operations and programs.  Angela’s work is primarily led by statistical data, current innovations within the built environment and a strong desire to preserve history and culture for future generations.  Angela’s educational background includes a Master’s degree in Public Policy Administration and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Missouri-St. Louis in Missouri.  With a graduate certificate in Nonprofit Management and Leadership along with recognition as a LEED AP O+M and TRUE Advisor, Angela uses her educational background to bridge organizations and increase sustainable practices in the museum field.  Angela serves on the board of directors for the US Green Building Council-Missouri Gateway Chapter and the American Alliance of Museums’ Environment and Climate Professional Network.  

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  1. Robert Janes

    This is excellent, Angela – practical and to the point. You are leading by example and thanks very much for contributing to the Coalition’s work.

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