European museums unite in commitment to climate action at NEMO European Museum Conference

© Image: Panu Salonen

© Image: Panu Salonen

At the 2023 NEMO European Museum Conference, NEMO continues its commitment to the sustainable transformation with a three-day conference dedicated to inspiring museums to act for the climate. 300+ museum professionals from nearly 40 countries have gathered to fully tap into museums’ potential to contribute to a sustainable future.

The conference NEMO European Museum Conference: and… ACTION! Museums in the climate crisis is running from 19-21 November in Lahti, Finland. It offers a platform to discuss how museums can be part of the solution, reduce their negative impact on the climate, and inspire their communities to act. Museums will only remain relevant and trustworthy if they lead by good example.

Chair of the NEMO Executive Board, David Vuillaume, highlights that “Museums have a vital role in safeguarding and transmitting cultural legacy. Therefore, they should be at the forefront in the fight against climate change, which threatens our heritage. Museum networks such as NEMO can help museums to collaborate and share best practices. So, they can lower their carbon footprint and inspire their audience to take action.”

Lahti, which aims to be climate neutral by 2025 and was the European Green Capital 2021, presents the perfect backdrop for conference participants and museums to collectively gather strength and build strong alliances to contribute to global climate action. Drawing on learnings from NEMO’s recent report, participants get to explore small and big actions museums can take to support society in tackling climate change. With a European interactive map, launched at the conference, NEMO will collect and show how museums are already acting on the climate crisis. Starting now, NEMO encourages museums across Europe to participate in the crowdsource project by submitting their approaches, formats, and scopes. To further support museums to take political action in the climate crisis, NEMO also presents findings from its new research on museums and climate related policies.

About NEMO’s diligent work on climate change related issues, NEMO Secretary general Julia Pagel adds “The green sustainable transition is already happening, at every level and everywhere in Europe. It is NEMO’s task to connect the dots, share good ideas, bring actors together and create a shared, powerful voice of museums, positioning our professional community at the heart of a future-proof social and sustainable Europe.”

The strong will of the museum sector to move forward and to become more sustainable is reflected in a clear message from the directors of the National Museum Organisations in Europe at the conference: “Our ethical and professional priority is to work with our communities for the future sustainability of the planet. Museums have a critical role to play in environmental sustainability and imagining our possible futures. Our commitment is that we will use our diverse collections and the stories that they hold to inspire people and facilitate change. We realise that it is no longer possible to preserve all heritage and collections in their current conditions. We are committed to re-evaluating our collections in terms of their social, historical, environmental, and educational impact.”  

Petra Havu, CEO of the Finnish Museums Association and member of NEMO’s Executive Board, welcomes the 300+ participants, a NEMO conference record, with the words “The Finnish Museums Association is thrilled to highlight its 100th anniversary by hosting the NEMO European Museum Conference. Our mission has always been to bring museums together and promote progress. Fighting climate change requires co-operation if we want to see progress. It’s vitally important that we work together not only in Europe but also in the global museum community.

The conference is hosted by the Finnish Museums Association with support by the Finnish Heritage Agency, the Finnish National Gallery, the city of Lahti and thanks to co-funding by the European Union.