LEARNING + RESEARCH Exhibition design in response to the climate crisis

Working to make change

Discover how the Design Museum is learning to cut the environmental cost of its exhibitions in response to the climate crisis.


How can we design exhibitions with a lower environmental impact?

The way in which we plan, design and operate exhibitions has an important role to play in reducing our overall impact. We have been working to reduce our scope 3 emissions and have developed a toolkit to guide decision-making whilst developing exhibitions and displays.

For the Design Museum, the idea of producing a guide emerged out of our 'Waste Age: What can design do?' exhibition which took place in the museum from October 2021 to February 2022 and highlighted a change in the culture of design.

The Design Museum is supporting this ambition through the work of the 'Future Observatory', our national programme for design research supporting the UK’s response to the climate crisis in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), which is part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

As an institution, it is important that we take up the challenge in our own work, which is why we invited 'URGE Collective' to continue the collaboration that began on our 'Waste Age' exhibition and help us to create this guide to designing exhibitions in a more sustainable way.

While the guide is based on our work at the Design Museum, we hope that it offers some core principles that are useful to other institutions and enables them to reflect on their own working processes. Of course, we recognise that exhibition-making is only one of the ways in which museums create emissions.

You can download our guide and model below:

Waste Age exhibition photographed by Felix Speller

the Design Museum's DNA

Find out more about the museum's vision, mission, values and commitments.