- Asia-Europe Museum Network - http://asemus.museum -

New Publication: “Ecologising Museums”

Ecologising Museums [1]The international confederation of museums L’Internationale [2] has recently released an e-publication entitled Ecologising Museums [3]. The report, co-edited by Sarah Werkmeister, explores how museums and cultural institutions can face climate change not only head-on, but from all angles, on the understanding that this process presents many challenges but can also have far-reaching benefits.

Ecologising Museums involves assuming that ‘greening’ a museum goes beyond an adaptation to energy-efficient procedures, sustainable buildings and operations. The museum is not only a technical operation, but is also imbued with a certain (modern) mindset which itself raises questions of sustainability. To what degree are the core activities of collecting, preserving and presenting in fact attitudes that embody an unsustainable view of the world and the relationship between man and nature? Can the spirit of the museum be “ecologised”, as well as its operations?

The publication raises these conflicting questions, seeking to  understand ecologising as a process that will require a profound cultural adjustment of the basic patterns of thought and practice inherent in modern society’s unsustainable foundation. Changing the habits and the thinking of the museum will require a monumental effort that will demand that modernised societies revisit quite  fundamental beliefs. It will need to be a journey of substance.

To this end, Ecologising Museums collects a series of articles providing conceptual and practical approaches to these questions. As suggested in the introduction to the e-publication, museums should “deviate from the straight line dividing nature and culture, while remaining responsible for the collections they house, the constituencies they collaborate with and those they represent, and the physical environment within and around them. We can, at the very least, begin by re-evaluating the role of art, exhibition making and cultural dissemination within the museum, in relation to a more informed ecological awareness.”

L’Internationale [2] is a confederation of six modern and contemporary art institutions in Europe. It proposes a space for art within a non-hierarchical and decentralised internationalism, based on the values of difference and horizontal exchange among a constellation of cultural agents, locally rooted and globally connected.

Ecologising Museums is available as a free download from http://www.internationaleonline.org/bookshelves/ecologising_museums [3]