Museums and climate action: introduction to a special issue of Museum Management and Curatorship

Today’s Guest Post is by Joy Davis, a cultural heritage specialist who directed the Cultural Resource Management Program at the University of Victoria for many years.

Over the next few days, as we leave 2020 and enter 2021, we’ll be highlighting articles from a special issue on ‘Museums and Climate Action’ published as Volume 35, Issue #6 of the journal Museum Management and Curatorship. Many thanks to both the Journal and the authors for allowing free access to this work.

Five years ago, a small group of Canadian museum specialists came together to form the Coalition of Museums for Climate Justice. At the time, we felt that we were isolated voices in the museum world, despite growing awareness of the need for climate action in many other sectors. Only a handful of museums and museum organizations worldwide were beginning to consider their tremendous potential to influence climate action through their programs, research and advocacy.

Today, with almost 1000 subscribers, the Coalition has many allies across Canada and beyond. Indeed, one of the most challenging aspects of convening this special issue of Museum Management and Curatorship was choosing among a growing number of brave, innovative and fascinating authors and initiatives focused on climate in the museum sector.

Maple Leaf

This special issue of Museum Management and Curatorship focuses on museums and climate action and features invited papers from contributors from many parts of the world. The voices that come together bring perspectives from large museums and small – and from agencies that work alongside museums – as they confront the many challenges inherent in new, more activist roles. Despite varied backgrounds and specializations, contributors express the common conviction that museums have important roles to play in this crisis; that to do so, we need to be more strategic about deploying our unique strengths; that collaboration within and across museums and out into communities is essential; and that all this change requires new knowledge, skills, and ways of thinking.

Read more here


Joy Davis

Joy Davis is a cultural heritage specialist who directed the Cultural Resource Management Program at the University of Victoria for many years. She focused on knowledge adaptation and transfer in the museum sector in her doctoral studies and serves on the Advisory Group of the Coalition of Museums for Climate Justice.

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