“Coordinating Anthropocene Activities at Carnegie Museum of Natural History”
Carnegie Museum of Natural History has embraced the Anthropocene as one of its major strategic themes, using the concept as the basis for a stream of multidisciplinary research and the subject for a major topic for visitor engagement through exhibitions and programming. Four museum leaders describe how the topic is incorporated across programming, outreach, exhibitions, and research.
“Exhibiting the Anthropocene: Visitor Experiences and Global Change I”
One of the most important ways for natural history museums to communicate with the public is through the medium of the exhibition. The topic of the Anthropocene is new for many museums, so exhibition product is only now being created in and around the Anthropocene as a topic. This session provides a platform for creators of exhibitions to share their artistry and perspectives on creating visitor experiences around the Anthropocene, biodiversity, and environmental protection.
“Urban Diversity: Connecting Locally to Nature I”
For many museum visitors, urban biodiversity is the only opportunity they will ever have to experience wild animals up close. This connection to the wilderness, however oblique, can help form fundamental bonds to nature. At the same time, urban biodiversity is both a convenient and relevant topic of study for many natural history museums. This session will explore initiatives that research and celebrate investigations into urban wilderness, citizen science, and other in situ museum programs.
“Collections to Study Environmental Change”
Museum collections have been used effectively to document and understand human impacts and make long-term contributions to the conservation of global biodiversity. This session will include papers in which natural history museum research has had, or will have, an effect on conservation, policy, or ethical considerations.
“Development Models for Natural History Museums”
Funding models for natural history museums are becoming increasingly complex and varied. Many museums have met this challenge with creativity, resulting in new types of memberships, reinvigorated donor centricity, and a more strategic approach to grant writing. This session will focus on successes and learnings in funds development for natural history museums.
“Discovering the Anthropocene: Teaching and Learning About Global Human Impacts”
Helping visitors of all ages understand the Anthropocene requires an ability to uncover the complexity of forces simultaneously at work in a way that is impactful and inspires empathy. New programs and tools are being developed, which are explored in this session.
“Evolution in a World of ‘Alternative Facts’”
Oxford Dictionaries chose the word “post-truth” to characterize the year 2016. When interacting with a generation that consumes information from social media and other unreliable sources and has little patience with nuanced messaging, imparting scientific information and encouraging critical thought around issues like evolution takes on a new and challenging perspective. Even as, at least in some circumstances, the value of science as a paradigm is being questioned, the need for evidence-based practice has never been greater. This session will explore how museums can overcome these challenges when imparting information about evolution and other science topics.
“Exhibiting the Anthropocene: Visitor Experiences and Global Change II”
This session is a continuation of the plenary session “Exhibiting the Anthropocene I: Visitor Experiences and Global Change” and will be an engaging discussion on how museums can communicate the new topic of the Anthropocene through exhibits and visitor experiences.
“Nature, Ecology, and Psychology”
Understanding the deep relationship between humans and nature and nature’s role in human culture is fundamental to an exploration of the Anthropocene as a social—as well as environmental— phenomenon. This session explores various ways in which natural history museums use and disseminate the emotive, empathetic side of the Anthropocene.
“Natural History Museums and Advocacy”
Although many natural history museums are actively involved in advocacy, there are some who feel that this is inappropriate to the core concept of what a museum does. This session will explore the need, utility, and constraints of museums being involved in advocacy around biodiversity conservation and other topics.
“Urban Diversity: Connecting Locally to Nature II”
This session is a continuation of the plenary session “Urban Diversity I: Connecting Locally to Nature” and will explore how visitors experience biodiversity both inside natural history institutions and outside in urban environments. Participants will share initiatives that research and celebrate investigations into urban wilderness, citizen science, and other in situ museum programs.