The True Costs of Collecting – Museums, Climate, and Carbon

Coalition of Museums for Climate Justice

Today’s Guest Post is by Erin Richardson, currently pursuing doctoral research focusing on the cost of collecting in U.S. museums, and Douglas Worts, culture & sustainability specialist with WorldViews Consulting, in Toronto, Canada.

How much energy is required to maintain temperature and humidity levels inside a museum?

Museum interior Unsplash / Anthony Delanoix

Because of the wide-ranging realities of museum environments, it is likely that no such aggregation of data has taken place. However, many individual museums have begun to ask penetrating questions about the carbon intensity of their operations. The links between environmental controls, energy and carbon emissions are both real and strong.

A major component of the carbon intensity of museums is related to storage, care, and use of collections (which applies 24 hours a day, 365 days a year).

In recent years, some of our colleagues, like Coalition member Sarah Sutton, have been encouraging and supporting museums in the…

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