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.
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.
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.
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.
Ways of Knowing the Anthropocene: Connections to Indigenous Cultures
As representatives of natural history museums, we can be deeply implicated in the processes of objectification and decontextualization of indigenous cultures and their tangible heritage. But we also have the power to reconnect our collections to the living universe, to bring the past to bear on the present, and to use our resources to lift up the stories of the people who are struggling to protect the living universe for the future. This session will feature museum professionals, artists, and scientists invested in bringing together scientific and indigenous voices.
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 Biodiversity: Connecting Locally to Nature
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.
Exhibiting the Anthropocene: Visitor Experiences and Global Change
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.
Discovering the Anthropocene: Teaching and Learning About Global Human Impacts
Helping visitors of all ages understand that 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.
Putting it All Together: What Have We Learned?
Participants in this conference are presenting many different approaches to museum work in relation to the Anthropocene and leveraging collections to increase natural history museums’ contribution to conserving and interpreting the natural world. In this closing session, participants will explore a synthesis of what was presented and consider implications for our field.