Could visitor attractions help save the planet, by educating people of all ages about climate change and – importantly – enlightening them about the actions they can take to prevent it? That’s the question Bridget McKenzie asked herself before setting out to create the Climate Museum (see page 80).
We know attractions sit at the heart of the education system, welcoming, teaching and enlightening millions of people around the world each year, so what could we make happen if we harnessed this power to save the world?
McKenzie believes we can make a difference and is crowdfunding an initiative to gather the resources needed to accelerate the development of the new attraction.
It will start as a pop-up – part exhibition, part training process – which can be hired by a museum, school, library or business and the plan is to grow from there.
“I see it as a workshop/campaign/training project where people can explore the subject and talk about their feelings and views,” says McKenzie. “Props and games will enable the conversation of how we can engage communities with climate change. Each pop-up will be targeted to the location: for example if it’s a low-lying area, a history of flooding can be brought into it.”
Importantly, the Climate Museum will harness the power of play to connect with visitors, but it will also be treated as a serious subject. Content will be graded to avoid frightening children and to ensure that the tougher messages reach the right audience.
McKenzie was inspired to start work on the project after meeting fellow industry professional Miranda Massie, who’s in the process of setting up a Climate Museum as a destination in New York and says it’s all part of a growing movement in the cultural sector take direct action in relation to climate change and make a difference.
In addition to educating people about change, attractions can do a huge amount to set an example, by adopting best practice in relation to things like accepting ethical sponsorship, switching to renewables or self-generation, encouraging visitors to arrive by public transport and cutting out plastic.
With the world in an accelerating climate crisis, it’s for us time to step up and play our part in finding solutions.