Skip to content

Green Museums: A Growing Phenomenon

Category: Press Release


July 7, 2014

Washington, D.C.—What does a green museum look like? Environmental sustainability in museums, zoos, gardens, aquariums and historic sites can mean a green-roof rooftop café at an art museum, composting toilets at an historic site, pressed sunflower fiber board in exhibit design and public programming on green topics from science to art to nature. Museums across the U.S. have been going green for over a decade.

The 2013 Summit on Environmental Sustainability Standards in Museums, held by the American Alliance of Museums, explored how far museums have come, how they’re managing these important practices today and how the mainstream certification programs such as LEED, Living Buildings, Energy Star and Green Globes, and the not-so-mainstream, help or hinder the field in the future.

In May 2014, AAM published a White Paper, Museums, Environmental Sustainability and Our Future from the Summit reviewing six national certification programs, providing examples of museums using these programs and encouraging the field to help refine the certification programs to strengthen the green work of museums.

A zoo, an art museum or a science center may choose to go green without using a certification program, however many currently use the LEED system of the US Green Building Council. Others, such as The Phipps Conservatory in Philadelphia, started with LEED and progressed beyond it to Living Building status. The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry is creating ExhibitSEED to guide green exhibit design field-wide and the US Botanic Garden partnered with Association of Landscape Architects and the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Garden to create the SITES program to guide sustainable landscape design for any open space, not simply museums, zoos or gardens.

Media Contacts

Skip over related stories to continue reading article

For information on, or from, the American Alliance of Museums contact Dewey Blanton at 202-218-7704

For information about the museum field and environmental sustainability nationally, contact Sarah Sutton at 978-505-4515.

For information about the Summit and its participants, or the White Paper and its findings, contact Sarah Brophy at 978-505-4515 or Adrienne McGraw at 510-647-2072.

AAM Member-Only Content

AAM Members get exclusive access to premium digital content including:

  • Featured articles from Museum magazine
  • Access to more than 1,500 resource listings from the Resource Center
  • Tools, reports, and templates for equipping your work in museums
Log In

We're Sorry

Your current membership level does not allow you to access this content.

Upgrade Your Membership


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to Field Notes!

Packed with stories and insights for museum people, Field Notes is delivered to your inbox every Monday. Once you've completed the form below, confirm your subscription in the email sent to you.

If you are a current AAM member, please sign-up using the email address associated with your account.

Are you a museum professional?

Are you a current AAM member?

Success! Now check your email to confirm your subscription, and please add to your safe sender list.