Green Resources Hub

Welcome to the South East Museum Development Programme’s Green Resources Hub.

Do you want to be more environmentally friendly? Do you need the know-how and resources to do it all in one convenient location? You’ve come to the right place.

There are so many ways in which organisations can be more environmentally friendly – from supporting activism groups to fight climate change, preventing pollution where possible, buying cheaper sustainable energy, committing to ethical purchasing – but it can seem confusing at times to find the way forward.

Museums can respond to the climate change emergency and do their bit to protect the natural world, and to help you on that journey we have prepared a group of resources signposting you to all you need to get started.

Green Resources Hub

Here are some ideas about how we can help the fight against Climate Change – both at home and at work. Small actions add up and remember – every little helps!

What is climate change?

This documentary, narrated by Sir David Attenborough, is a good introduction to the subject: (available until March 2022)

What is the science behind the climate change?

Here are some studies and useful information about the changes happening in our environment:

What can museums do to help the environment?

Museums have a role to help save our planet, just as they have been curating and protecting our history for generations. We can do this by exploring the topic through our exhibitions, contemporary collecting, and by becoming greener institutions ourselves. Here are some articles reflecting on how museums can engage with climate change:

Who else is trying to help?

There are a number of organisations trying to make a change. These range from charities, governments, businesses and activists. Here are a few of them:

There is a lot of jargon thrown around when talking about climate change. Understanding what is meant by these different terms can help you to decide if it is something that would be right for your museum. Below are a few articles that look at the definitions of these terms:

Jargon busters

Carbon neutral vs net zero

When we think about climate change, fossil fuels often come to mind. These power our workplaces and homes, but more options are now available if you want to explore more sustainable energy supplies.

Green energy suppliers

Green energy audits

You may want to look at doing an audit of your energy usage to see where efficiency savings may be made. Here is some more information about carrying out one, and an example of a commercial firm that offers this service:

Green efficiency tips

There are some great tips and tricks out there to save you money and energy. Why not give some of these a go?

Lighting within museums can often be difficult to replace, especially if the bulbs are of an older variety or part of a track system. There are benefits to using LED lighting, but there can also be drawbacks. Investment in lighting can also be costly and may have to be considered in relation to other maintenance requirements. Below are some articles that discuss museum lighting:

Space is always at a premium in museums, especially when it comes to storage and the quality of space available for display. It is an area that is often overlooked when thinking about climate change.  However, according to the Technology Strategy Board, construction, operation and maintenance of the built environment accounts for 45% of total UK carbon emissions (27% from domestic buildings and 18% from non-domestic buildings)*. Building or renting additional space contributes to this. So, are you making the most of your space?


Rationalising collections

Rationalising your collection is a healthy part of collections management. If you are considering a rationalisation project, your MDO can provide advice and support on how to do this ethically. It can also help you to provide a better collection in line with your collections development policy, and to provide better care for your core collection. As an added bonus, it also frees up some space!

When considering ways to protect the environment, most people think of the pollution created by cars and other vehicles. It is one of the most direct ways we encounter pollution in our daily lives and can have a huge impact on air quality and our health. 4.2 million people around the world die each year as a result of air pollution*, and the WHO believes that 99% of the global population are exposed to airborne pollutions that can harm our health. However, not everyone has equal access to public transport and this infrastructure is currently not always accessible.

Alternatives to travelling by car

Electric commercial vehicles

Make your voice heard on the subject of public transport infrastructure



Did you know that nearly half of the UK’s total carbon footprint comes from overseas emissions associated with consumer activity*? That’s an awful lot of carbon! But there are things that we can do to be more environmentally friendly when we purchase materials for our museums, our shops and our homes.

It’s more eco-friendly to reuse and recycle than to buy new. Here are some tips on how we can do that in our museums too:

Greener suppliers


Museum materials

Props for displays

Eco-friendly cleaning

Cleaning is such an important part of museum work, so here are some great ideas on how to use eco-friendly cleaning products:

Recycling and Upcycling



Exhibitions are the perfect way to open up a discussion with your museum visitors about how to protect our natural environment. It doesn’t matter if you are from an urban museum or a rural one – each museum has a unique relationship with its own environment and your visitors will respond to the relevant objects you present. Every story will be different, and that is what makes your museum so special to your visitors.

Here are some examples of other museums who have decided to look at climate change in their exhibitions:

There are some grants and incentives available that may help you to realise your ambitions to become more sustainable. These range from commercial support to smaller grants for your home and cover a diverse list of topics. In order to have the best chance of success, you may want to contact the grant awarding bodies for further advice and ensure that you read the guidance and eligibility criteria closely. This list is not exhaustive and will be updated wherever possible.


Deadline: rolling


Deadline: vouchers are valid for 120 days and can be applied for now


Deadline: midday on 3 February 2022

Deadline: rolling programme

Deadline: rolling programme

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