Dear Members and Friends of DEMHIST, As the COVID-19 virus continues to spread around the globe, personal and professional lives everywhere have been impacted drastically. The situation changes daily, and differs from country to country. Based on these uncertainties...
Applications are being accepted for funding requests for activities organized by DEMHIST National Groups or other local DEMHIST-related activities that take place during 2020. The deadline for the application is March 31, 2020.
Update: In light of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and uncertainty regarding travel options until the end of
Update: In light of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and uncertainty regarding travel options until the end of this year, the DEMHIST 2020 Amersfoort Conference has been postponed to 2021.
The DEMHIST 2020 conference Historic House Museums for a Sustainable World: Challenges and Opportunities will be held in Amersfoort, the Netherlands October 5-7 with post conference tours on October 8-9.
Museums are increasingly aware of the need to become more sustainable. To this end, many museums are already doing some green work and green thinking, thus contributing to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) and to creating a sustainable future. Government and funding bodies are increasingly demanding environmental assessment. As agents of social responsibility we are expected more and more to deal with the results of environmental change such as flooding and drying out and to fulfil our role as a forum for public debate.
In the Work plan for the Paris Climate Change Agreement, 2018 museums are recognised as key sites for climate change education. That means that as museums, we are considered to have great potential to create awareness among visitors, other sectors and our immediate environment. In practice however, the activities that museums develop to become more sustainable are mainly in the field of waste and electricity consumption. The activities to raise awareness are relatively rare. Many museums do not have structural policy regarding sustainability, nor do they monitor their progress. In other words: environmental sustainability is not yet mainstream or systemic within the museum sector. A lack of resources and expertise are obvious obstacles that stand in the way.
The ambitions and challenges are great: less energy, less waste, less water consumption, smarter use of resources and raw materials, more quality in the management and use of the collection, and more and better public participation. It affects every part of our work; it is about our building, collection management, operations, and the relationship with our public. How can we as historic house museums translate these ambitions into practice? How can we deal with the challenges, starting with our historic buildings, which are often far from sustainable to begin with? How can we protect our valuable historic houses from climate change? However, at the same time we must ask ourselves: how can we make use of our great potential as vectors for social and sustainable change?
These and other questions will be posed at our DEMHIST 2020 conference in Amersfoort, organized in conjunction with the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands (RCE). During the conference, we will hear experts on sustainability address these issues;, we will examine the challenges; we will visit inspiring examples; and we will see that a lot is possible.