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Insights Live! Resources: Exhibitions - part 2

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Mastering sustainable exhibitions - Experimenta

Mastering sustainable exhibitions - part 2

5 October


  • Lizzy Bakker, Head of Presentations at Naturalis
  • Christian Sichau, Head of Exhibitions at Experimenta

Following "Mastering sustainable exhibitions" on 26 May 2023, where experts from Nomad Exhibitions and Bruns shared their tips, this sequel offers further perspectives on creating eco-conscious exhibits.

Lizzy Bakker shared invaluable insights for Ecsite members striving for environmentally sustainable exhibitions. Drawing from her experience at Nemo Science Museum, Lizzy emphasized the pivotal role of exhibition themes in sustainability. She advocated for reusing materials to reduce carbon footprint, showcasing examples like repurposed tables and scaffolding. Lizzy highlighted the delicate balance between immersive experiences and sustainability, stressing the need to involve local parties with a shared commitment to sustainability. She also encouraged acceptance of downsides and promoted enhanced collaborations among museums for knowledge-sharing. Lastly, Lizzy emphasized the importance of daily reminders and urged critical thinking about the future of exhibition formats. Watch or re-watch this talk for actionable strategies in crafting eco-conscious exhibitions.

Watch Lizzy’s talk on Ecsite's YouTube channel

Christian Sichau's talk provided crucial insights for members striving for sustainable exhibitions. His thought-provoking question, "Do you know what your exhibition contains?" sparks critical self-assessment. Drawing parallels to reading food labels, he prompts us to question if we truly know what materials compose our exhibits. Sichau stresses the need for precise material documentation, going beyond generic terms. He highlights potential risks to local environments, urging thorough examination of substances used. Sichau shares strategies, from accessing product documents to utilizing established certifications. He substantiates the effort, revealing substantial gains in environmental quality over minimal legal compliance. While the process demands initial investment, Sichau assures that long-term benefits far outweigh the costs. Watch for practical insights on crafting sustainable exhibitions.

Watch Christian's talk on Ecsite's Youtube channel


  • Theme-driven Sustainability: Align exhibition themes with sustainability to naturally incorporate eco-conscious elements, enhancing both the message and process

  • Prioritize Reuse: When detailed carbon footprint calculations are unfeasible, prioritize material reuse. Strategically repurpose elements for multiple exhibitions, minimizing waste

  • Balanced Immersion: Strive for a balance between immersive experiences and sustainability. Explore hands-on, low-energy alternatives for impactful visitor engagement

  • Local Collaborations: Engage local parties who share a commitment to sustainability. Limit travel and foster partnerships with eco-conscious designers and builders

  • Transparent Material Documentation: Demand detailed material documentation from suppliers. Understand the composition and environmental impact of every component used

  • Certified Materials: Prioritize materials with recognized certifications and labels. Seek products that meet established environmental standards, reducing risk and ensuring transparency

  • Air Quality Testing: Consider post-production air quality assessments to evaluate the impact of exhibition materials. Identify and address any potential risks posed by substances used

  • Knowledge Sharing: Join the movement of collaboration between museums. Share insights and best practices for creating sustainable exhibitions, fostering collective progress

  • Regular Reminders: Embrace daily reminders of the importance of sustainability in exhibition design. Maintain focus and commitment to eco-conscious practices for lasting impact

  • Measure Impact: Implement life cycle assessments to gauge the overall environmental impact of exhibitions. Prioritize reductions in carbon emissions, energy consumption, and water eutrophication.

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