A museum for the path ahead: New York City’s Climate Museum

01 May 2019

Miranda Massie (USA)

Director, Climate Museum New York City

This keynote will address why a cultural shift is needed to respond to the climate crisis and how dedicated climate museums form an important component of that shift. Massie will situate the initiative within its national and local contexts, discussing the public’s response and reflecting on the Museum’s first year of public programming.

This discussion illustrates the potential of collaboration at the intersection of institution building and cultural transformation, and it also spotlights questions, challenges, and tensions that lurk within. How to recognise the transformative power of art without instrumentalising it? How to celebrate individual creativity while pulling toward the collective? How to mobilise the museum—a culturally conservative form—for the radical change we need?

Before launching the Climate Museum, Miranda Massie was a civil rights impact litigator, in which capacity her honours included Fletcher Foundation, W.E.B. Dubois Institute and Harvard Law School Wasserstein Public Interest Fellowships, as well as a Mentorship-in-Residence at Yale Law School. In 2014, she left this career in the law of social justice and equality to start laying the groundwork for the Museum, in the belief that the climate crisis was at once the greatest intensifiers of inequality and an existential threat superseding all other jeopardy to civilisation and humanity.