Museums Facing Extinction
Goal 1: Foster systemic changes towards a climate-resilient future, good for people and the Planet through community-based actions

— two research programs in parallel in collaboration with EIT Climate-KIC (2019–2021) and the Biomimicry Academy (2019–2020)
We are on a global journey towards a better understanding and more profound respect of our planet. Museums take a pivotal role in this process by acting as positive agents within social ecology and deploying sustainable operational models.

'Museums Facing Extinction' is a multi-year programme to turn museums and their local communities into climate leaders, and foster systemic changes towards a climate-resilient future.

Designed with respect to the local needs and specificities, this programme has the ambition to foster systemic change on a global scale.

Watch our call to action!
By combining the expertise of EIT Climate-KIC with the international community of We Are Museums, we want to construct a blueprint for a better future.
Multi-methodologies to foster climate actions at a systemic level
This programme uses different methodologies such as community building, peer-to-peer learning, collective problem-solving, systems thinking, future-thinking, long-term thinking, resilience, behavioural change and systemic change.
International experts and participants to work on hyper-local actions
In the programme, you'll learn and meet experts from the Natural History Museum of London, Tate, UN Live Museum, MO Museum, POLIN Museum, Futurium, Manchester Museum, Climate Museum UK, Museum of Discovery in Australia, Coalition of Museums for Climate Justice, Climate Museum US, Museum of Movements in Sweden, Museum Für Naturkunde Berlin, Space 10, Biomimicry Frontiers, the Copenhagen Institute for Future Studies, and of course, our dear partner EIT Climate-KIC.
Profusion of resources to stop re-inventing the wheel
Since November 2019, we have been compiling video recordings of lectures from international museum professionals sharing about their climate journey, as well as handbooks, meetup summaries and conference digests. These resources are available online and free to use.
Our Methodology: From hyper-local to systemic
We have been working on a transformation process in 5 steps, unfoldable in few months or a few years, depending on the scope.
Research & Harvest
The first step is all about researching the current state of the ecosystem and harvesting content and knowledge.
Collective mapping of the current local and global state of the museum field within the scope of the climate emergency. Identification of the key principles of behaviour, values, and actions of museums to move towards a climate-resilient future, the strengths and sore points of the industry, and the possible levels of action.
Extraction of all useful content and information from the resources to produce a large database of collective knowledge ready and easy to be shared and used. Our goal here is to facilitate the diffusion of these resources to foster discussions and ignite potential project developments and collaborations. Local agents of change and local actions are being identified to facilitate partnerships. We wanted to create a common base of knowledge and a roadmap for the future.
Collaboration & Production
After mapping the current state of the museum community, the museum team works together to understand their local priorities and capacities (strategic decisions, human resources, skills, financial capacities, etc.). From there, each museum or team works on a project or climate action, which also calls for systemic change.
Implementation & Replicability
It is with the transformation of local actions into a large database of new practices, frameworks, and climate actions that the museum community will be able to ensure replicability and implementation in multiple institutions. This step is key, as the climate actions produced are being implemented and adapted by other cultural institutions in order to test their relevance and impact at the systemic level.
Sensemaking & Assesement
Sensemaking is the methodology of extracting meaning and knowledge from actually occurring processes. It supports and - to some extent - replaces the classical approach to evaluation. In this last step, documentation is key to identifying the levers for change and understanding the main blockers.
Dive deep into our research program, unfolded through events, conferences, and meetups from 2019 to 2021.
A 3-day conference & collective intelligence workshop
We Are Museums, EIT Climate-KIC, the Futurium and Julie's Bycicle joined forces to kick-off the "Museum Facing Extinction" program at the Futurium in Berlin, Germany (from November 21 to 24, 2019).
A series of 4 self-organised satellite events to raise awareness and produce locally-attuned solution-oriented climate actions
  • MOD Museum / Museum of Discovery, Adelaide, Australia (February 3, 2020)
  • Västernorrlands Museum, Härnösand, Sweden (February 26, 2020)
  • Klimahaus Bremerhaven 8° Ost, Germany (September 24, 2020)
  • French National Heritage Center, Paris, France (October 13, 2020)
Conference "Museums Facing Extinction 2020"

With the support of EIT Climate-KIC and in collaboration with the MO Museum

in Vilnius, We Are Museums organised this conference to harvest museum climate journeys from 15 international, regional, and local experts (November 16th 2020, online).

A series of 4 expert-led online classes
  • Online Class "From Nature to Systems Thinking" - read more
  • Online Class "Democratize, Decolonize, Participate - An Approach to Futures Literacy" - read more
  • Online Class "Tate: Power to Change"- read more
  • Online Class "How to Combine Green Sustainability With Financial Sustainability?"- read more
Our 7-month program in Lithuania
We Are Museums, EIT Climate-KIC and the MO Museum join forces to produce six-month information, mentoring and co-creation programme to turn museums into agents of change and start climate actions (from Nov. 2020 to May 2021).
A 9-month Research Project Exploring the Living Museum Ecosystem
We Are Museums and the Biomimicry Academy held a 9-months research-project to identify how museums can become part of the local ecosystem and nurture a symbiotic relationship with their visitors (from September 2019 to May 2020)

By using the forest as a living model, the project specifically focuses on biomimicry for social innovation in the context of museums. How can we apply nature's intelligence to human society, to change the way we grow our museums and lead the organization, to transform our culture, and to achieve social sustainability? How can we foster community-based biodiversities?
Do you want to start your climate journey?
With your team or solo, during a lunch break, for a few days of workshops or a program of several months, it's easy to get started!
1. Learn from your peers
We have compiled insightful and easy-to-watch short videos from international museum experts explaining how they started their climate journey.
2. Browse our resources
We provide various resources through handbooks for museums to start their climate journey. These resources are at your disposal, available online, and free to use.
3. Find out how your museum can start its climate journey
We created a visual roadmap to inspire you with simple and practical actions to start your journey
4. Raise awareness! Organise your own event and start the discussion
Do you want to inspire your museum or museum colleagues to be committed to the climate change agenda? Do you want to start a conversation on the climate crisis among your museum colleagues?
5. Involve your team and museum
You and your colleagues are committed to the climate change agenda? You are now ready to take action?

Let's organise a workshop with hand-picked experts! Or join a 7-month program guiding museums through change. Together, we will unveil your challenge.
This programme is supported by
EIT Climate-KIC is an EU funded knowledge and innovation community who's purpose is to tackle climate change through innovation. They are Europe's largest public-private partnership with this purpose – a growing pan-European community of diverse organisations united by a commitment to direct the power of creativity and human ingenuity at the climate change challenge. Their Community Activation team is running a series of experimental sessions, like this one, involving pioneering thinkers and organizations across Europe. During these sessions, with their partners and community, they will observe and identify patterns, make observations and search for learnings with the aim of finding unique insights to support systemic level change.

To find out more, refer to the Transformation, in Time strategy.