NMDC adopts guidelines to reduce museums’ carbon footprint 4 Aug 2009

NMDC members have adopted new guidelines for environmental conditions in a major move towards a less energy-intensive approach to collections care.  NMDC recognises that museums need to approach the long-term care of collections in a way that does not require excessive use of energy.  NMDC members have committed to review relevant policy and practice - particularly in relation to loan requirements, storage and display conditions, building design and air conditioning systems - with a view to reducing carbon footprints.

The draft guiding principles, which were developed by the NMDC in consultation with UK conservators, ICON and the National Trust among others, include:

  • Environmental standards should become more intelligent and better tailored to clearly identified needs. Blanket conditions should no longer apply. Instead conditions should be determined by the requirements of individual objects or groups of objects and the climate in the part of the world in which the museum is located;
  • Care of collections should be achieved in a way that does not assume air-conditioning or any other current solutions.  Passive methods, simple technology that is easy to maintain, and lower energy solutions should be considered;
  • Natural and sustainable environmental controls should be explored and exploited fully;
  • When designing and constructing new buildings or renovating old ones, architects and engineers should be guided significantly to reduce the building’s carbon footprint as a primary objective.

Read more about the NMDC guiding principles for reducing museums’ carbon footprint.