The Fridays For Future (FFF) movement has ushered a new theme into the museum world – sustainability (Fig. nr. 1) – which gains increasing importance in times of climate change and dwindling financial resources. Yet what exactly does the term signify?

The UN World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) definition in the 1987 Brundtland Report describes “sustainable development” as a principle of using resources “[...] to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (cf. United Nations, Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development: Our Common Future).

Following the conventional “three-pillar model”, the concept of sustainability encompasses a triad of social, economic and ecological aspects (cf. Lexikon der Nachhaltigkeit, Drei Säulen Modell). An advanced version is the so-called weighted three-pillar model (Fig. nr. 2), which responds to current discussions on the special role of ecology. This model describes ecology as a foundation formed by two factors: natural resources and climate. The pillars economy, social affairs and – added newly – culture all rest on this foundation.

Museums, as cultural institutions, are places of education and encounter. They bear a great responsibility in the field of sustainability because “they preserve essential parts of our cultural heritage, convey knowledge, stimulate social discourse and spark creative impulse,” the German Museums Association explains (Deutscher Museumsbund, Nachhaltigkeit). Consequently, museums can create an image of a better future, develop visions of how a climate-friendly society could develop, and assume a role model character in sustainability management.

Sustainability and climate protection pose key challenges for the arts sector: “Resource-intensive museum constructions, air-conditioned exhibition spaces, worldwide transport of artworks that are as famous as they are sensitive” demonstrate that museums are not necessarily sustainable in all places (Wenzel 2022).

According to Christopher Garthe (Garthe 2020), creative director and consultant for sustainability in museums and exhibitions, numerous networks such as NEMO – Network of European Museum Organisations (NEMO, Museums and Sustainability) or We Are Museums (We Are Museums, Our labs) are essential for advancing sustainability in the museum sector.1 Professional associations too are addressing this significant topic. ICOM, the International Council of Museums, established a working group two years ago (ICOM, Working Group on Sustainability), for instance. Caitlin Southwick is a member of this working group and also executive director and founder of the initiative “Sustainability in Conservation” (SiC, Sustainable practice) and the non-governmental organisation Ki Culture, which offers step-by-step instructions for specific sustainability topics on its homepage (Ki Culture, Ki Books). In addition, Ki Culture launched Ki Futures, a programme that supports museums, galleries and other cultural organisations in their efforts to become more sustainable by providing training, coaching, tools and resources. The complete list of the pilot project’s participants is available on the homepage (Ki Culture, Ki Futures), including institutions from Europe as well as North and South America.

One example of the growing movement for more sustainability in Austrian museums is called “Museums For Future (MFF)”. It follows the ideas of FFF and demands in its declaration to implement the 1,5 °C target of the Paris Climate Agreement (Museums For Future, The Declaration of Museums For Future). Founded in 2019 by science writer Florian Schlederer in Austria, it now operates worldwide (see Wach 2022). This alliance of museums,2 cultural institutions and individuals engage in activism: MFF supports climate strikes (Museums For Future Facebook, Worldwide Climate Strike 25 March), communicates the consequences of the climate crisis, and seeks to implement measures for carbon neutrality. Even though many demands are generic (Museums for Future, Take Action), the idea seems to focus on trying to raise awareness and generate change. Depending on the resources available, this may occur at several levels. The Volkskundemuseum Wien (Austrian Museum of Folk Life and Folk Art), for instance, has redesigned its shop more sustainably (Austrian Museum of Folk Life and Folk Art, Schönding Shop) and the Museum Niederösterreich has organised an exhibition on the climate (Museum Niederösterreich, Klima & Ich). “Communication is deemed the most important tool in this debate – awareness is always the first step” (Rustler 2021).

To understand the German museum landscape’s current position in the fields of sustainability and climate protection, MFF Germany conducted an online survey early this year (Museums for Future Germany, #9 “Temperaturfühler”), which is currently undergoing evaluation. According to Anna Krez, initiator of MFF Germany, the first results will be published via social media platforms at the beginning of August and later summarised in a new climate column. Similarly, NEMO wants to know how museums are meeting the challenges of climate change and launched a survey on 22 April (Earth Day). The questionnaire was addressed to Europe’s museum community and covered a total of eight thematic areas.3 The responses will be published in a report in autumn 2022 and will serve as the basis for policy recommendations to steer the museum sector towards a green and sustainable future (NEMO 2022).

“Museums must become more sustainable in order to remain relevant”, demands the former director of the Kunst Haus Wien and president of ICOM Austria (International Council of Museums Austria), Bettina Leidl, in an interview (Kimmel/Biber 2021, p. 11). “Contemporary exhibitions on climate change are plentiful and well-attended.” (Wojcik 2019). This is not enough, however, to really make a difference in the world. For this reason, ICOM Austria developed the Austrian ECO-label for Museums with the corresponding catalogue of criteria on their own initiative (cf. BMNT/VKI 2018). This is a novelty in the industry because the ECO-label, designed by Friedensreich Hundertwasser (1928-2000) and awarded since 1990, previously only identified environmentally friendly products and services.

In 2015, when the cultural manager had taken charge of the Kunst Haus Wien, Leidl was still considered a pioneer in terms of sustainability: she began to implement the ECO idea both in the programme and in operations, and arranged for the exhibition house to be distinguished as the first “green museum” in Austria for its overall operational sustainability. It received the Austrian ECO-label in 2018. The initiative of Kunst Haus Wien and ICOM Austria to set standards in the museum sector has yielded positive results. Thirteen additional licensed institutions4 have since met the museum-specific requirements for the ECO-label (BMK, Museen mit dem Österreichischen Umweltzeichen).

These museums, which have received awards for their sustainable management and ecological positioning, are a signal that the cultural sector serves as an important partner in climate protection and can benefit from common national environmental standards. Sustainability concepts of certified museums and exhibition venues include the improvement of energy efficiency, the use of certified materials in terms of recyclability and environmental compatibility, the production of printed materials as well as a balanced product mix in the museum shops (regional and resource-efficient). Furthermore, a focus on ecology in art educational programmes, as well as further training measures for staff, play a role.

The diversity of more sustainable approaches in museum contexts is demonstrated by ICOM Austria’s latest initiative in cooperation with the Federal Ministry of Arts, Culture, Public Service and Sport (BMKÖS). Titled “17 Museums x 17 SDGs”, its content and strategy are based on the 17 developmental goals of the UN Action Plan “Agenda for Sustainable Development 2030” (Fig. nr. 3). For this purpose, ICOM Austria nominated 17 museums to serve as best practice examples and role models; the SDGs were assigned by lot (cf. ICOM Austria, 17 Museums x 17 SDGs – Sustainable Development Goals). Selected museums presented their projects at the 17th International Lake Constance Symposium “Inspiration Museum: Strategies for a Sustainable Future” from 12 to 14 May 2022 in Bregenz (ICOM Austria, 17th Internationales Bodensee-Symposium).5 Earlier, the Vienna Museum of Science and Technology (Technisches Museum Wien) had reflected on the pandemic impact on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with a pop-up exhibition entitled “Corona Impact: Mementos in 17 Stations” (cf. Aufreiter et al. 2021).

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were endorsed by the international community in 2015 and serve as a common guide for companies to align their goals and activities with sustainable development (cf. United Nations, Sustainable Development Goals). Despite the Mechelen Declaration,6 which clearly aims at supporting the UN SDGs and applies them to museums and science centres, the SDGs have not yet been given sufficient attention in the museum sector (Garthe 2017).

The Institute for Museum Research in Berlin (IfM) presented the 2019 special question on Global Goals for Sustainable Development as part of its annual overall statistical survey of museums in the Federal Republic of Germany. The bottom line of the IfM press release reads: “Many actors in society, business and politics now use the Global Goals for Sustainable Development (SDGs) for the strategic orientation of their actions and planning. They played either no role or a marginal role for the majority of museums (55.5%) in 2019, or were not even known.” (Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz 2021). Yet as cultural institutions, museums can contribute significantly to achieving the SDGs and become pioneers for societal change.

For the German Museums Association, sustainability has been a priority topic since 2019. Based on the 17 SDGs, guidelines for different sustainability aspects are currently developed for museums (Deutscher Museumsbund, Nachhaltigkeit). SDG 13, on taking urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts, is particularly relevant in the arts and culture sector.7 To make museums more climate-friendly in future, the association is developing practical measures together with experts from museums and business ecology until 2023 (Deutscher Museumsbund, Klimaschutz und Nachhaltigkeit im Museum).

As mentioned above, museums are cultural heritage institutions designed for the long term, but they do not necessarily act sustainably. Recording their own sustainability performance8 provides a first step towards enabling more ecological, social and economic sustainability in their institutions (cf. Seiß 2021).

Many different methods and indicators exist for measuring the ecologically relevant impacts of our actions, including in the arts and cultural sectors (cf. Baumast et al. 2019). Knowledge of energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions is a crucial factor in this respect. After all, CO2 emissions are one of the central causes of anthropogenic climate change and reducing them is thus one of the most important challenges of the 21st century (Umweltbundesamt, Treibhausgase).

Anthropogenic means “caused by humans”, i.e. the anthropogenic greenhouse effect is the effect of human behaviour on the natural greenhouse effect. Greenhouse gases are special trace gases that have a similar effect to a greenhouse’s glass roof: they allow solar radiation to pass through unhindered but absorb a large part of the heat radiation emitted by the earth and then send it back to earth. Since the start of the last century, the amount of climate-impacting gases has increased significantly. This results in an incremental heating of the Earth’s atmosphere with potentially catastrophic consequences (e.g. glacial melting, severe weather fluctuations or extreme weather events such as flood disasters).

Greenhouse gases regulated under the Kyoto Protocol include carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), also known by the trivial name laughing gas, and fluorinated gases (F-gases). F-gases include Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorinated carbons (PFCs), and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6). Carbon dioxide, produced by burning fossil fuels, affects the climate most, as it occurs in large concentrations in the atmosphere and lingers in the air for a long time. To calculate GHG emissions, the emission values of all gases are converted into a kg-CO2 equivalent (CO2e), based on a period of 100 years.

With the 2015 adoption of the Paris Agreement on climate change, new international guidelines have emerged in the field of carbon footprinting (BMK, The Paris Agreement). Not only greenhouse gas footprints but also emission-reducing strategies and measures have found their way into numerous sectors. The overarching goal of these climate protection efforts is to limit average global warming to 1.5 °C to a maximum of 2 °C compared to pre-industrial levels.

The climatic impact of art was previously a blind spot but is increasingly being taken into account by a growing number of actors: After all, the Paris climate goals can only be achieved if they are understood as a society-wide responsibility (cf. Tate 2019). “Utilizing a carbon footprint, cultural institutions [such as museums] can respond to demands to act in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way and improve their credibility by working decisively on changing practices themselves.” (Aktionsnetzwerk Nachhaltigkeit, Nachhaltigkeit und Zukunft).

Stefan Simon, a sustainability expert at the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation and director of the Rathgen Research Laboratory at the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, considers museums to be among the biggest “energy gobblers” in the cultural sector (Kuhn 2020; Wesener 2021). Their complex air-conditioning technology often causes high CO2 emissions and hence contributes to the climate crisis in no small measure. Other indirect emissions are caused by water use, waste, material procurement, business trips and art transport, for instance.

In the English-speaking world, initiatives to evaluate greenhouse gas emissions for cultural institutions have been underway since 2011. Especially in the UK, case studies of museums exist that are engaged in sustainability efforts for quite some time, especially in the field of climate protection and greenhouse gas reduction.9 In its pioneering role, the National History Museum London (Natural History Museum, Sustainable by Nature) tries to incorporate internationally recognised standards such as the “Science-Based-Targets-Initiative” into its reporting (Mitchel 2022). According to Simon, not a single museum in Germany “[...] can retrieve a complete carbon footprint of its physical presence and operations [...]” (Wojcik 2019).

In late 2020, selected institutions in Germany joined forces nationwide to conduct a survey as a first step and to develop a uniform procedure for energy and climate footprinting in the museum sector from this experience (cf. KdB, Klimabilanzen in Kulturinstitutionen). At the invitation of the Federal Cultural Foundation, 19 museums,10 libraries, theatres and concert halls from different regions of Germany used the winter months to determine their GHG emissions for 2019 – supervised by the Hamburg-based sustainability economist Annett Baumast. They examined their energy and heating costs, their levels of waste, paper consumption, and the mobility of employees and visitors (to name but a few areas). However, the brochure does not reveal the names of the biggest climate offenders. It lists only average values in order to take pressure of the matter.

The second pilot project, “Klimabilanzen für NRW Kultur” (Climate Balances for NRW Culture), was conducted by the Action Network Sustainability in Culture and Media (see Aktionsnetzwerk Nachhaltigkeit, Pilotprojekt), a cross-sectoral contact point for all questions of operational ecology. Funded by the Federal Ministry of Culture and Media, it acts as an impartial intermediary between politics, administration, science, companies and acting institutions. The aim is to support the achievement of the climate protection goals of the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda in the cultural and media spheres. To determine the carbon footprint, the CO2 calculator from Julie’s Bicycle11 in the UK was translated to German and tested in a closed pilot phase by 18 cultural institutions from North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) until March 2022. This tool will later be made available to the German cultural sector free of charge. Participating institutions, among them four museums,12 were accompanied and advised by experts from the Action Network and Energy Agency. Andrea Joosten, a participant of the pilot project, reports in an article on first experiences and results from the perspective of the Emmerich public library (Joosten 2022).

Whilst Germany is developing its first methods of calculating museums’ carbon footprints, a carbon footprint has hardly been prepared anywhere in Austria to date. The MAK – Museum of Applied Arts (Museum für angewandte Kunst) – is the exception, being the first art museum in Austria to determine its CO2 emissions in connection with the exhibition “Climate Care” (Fig. nr. 4; cf. Egghart 2021, pp. 40-43). If climate protection is to be implemented effectively in museums, however, one must examine the extensive repositories and archives (Garthe 2021, p. 53), where up to 90% of museum collections are stored, according to ICCROM, the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property.

As part of her dissertation, the author has launched a pilot project with the KHM Museum Association (KHM-Museumsverband) in which a specific CO2 emissions calculation will be undertaken for the central storage (Fig. nr. 5) during its ongoing operation. The BOKU Competence Center for Climate Change supports this initiative with its scientific expertise and accompanies the project partners on their “path to climate neutrality” (BOKU Competence Center for Climate Change, Projects).

Completed in 2011, the building on the outskirts of Vienna comprises around 14,000m2 of floor space and houses a large part of the approximately four million works of art, which are housed according to state-of-the-art standards on four floors with room heights up to six metres (Fig. nr. 6). Optimised storage technology and well-designed climate control are just as much a part of the comprehensive conservation strategy as integrated pest management and housekeeping. However, the maintenance of the building and the technical installations also contribute significantly to the long-term preservation of the collections (Haag 2015 and 2013; Kimmel et al. 2014).13

Almost ten years after the storage went into operation, a self-critical look at its carbon footprint aims to reveal the amount and distribution of greenhouse gases in certain operational areas. Once the CO2 emissions situation for a given year is known, it becomes possible to identify negative emissions drivers, formulate objectives, and develop effective measures to reduce CO2 emissions.

In this way, the museum will obtain a sound data basis on its climate-damaging emissions in the storage for the very first time. The case study results are also highly relevant for the envisaged calculation of the museum’s total emissions. In addition, the experience gained from the pilot project can subsequently be used by all federal museums in Vienna for a common CO2 calculator.

BOKU provided a generally applicable CO2 calculation tool, called “ClimCalc 2.0”, for data collection, which shall be used in an adapted form in other museum greenhouse gas calculations in the future. In view of the pandemic-related years 2020 and 2021, the year 2019 was used as a representative benchmark year. After defining the footprinting framework, all relevant emission sources of the storage were identified. According to the three categories (scopes) of the Green House Gas Protocol (GHG), these sources originate in the organisation of the museum itself or through services provided. In addition, the availability and quality of the data were checked.

These scopes are used to allocate greenhouse gas emissions according to two principles. On the one hand, they distinguish emissions according to their place of origin. On the other hand, classifying emissions into scopes allows showing the organisation’s influence on its different emission items. In this way, the organisation can directly influence Scope 1 emissions. Scope 2 and 3 emissions, on the other hand, can only be controlled indirectly by including upstream and downstream processes (BOKU Kompetenzstelle für Klimaneutralität 2021, p. 1).

Organisational units often argue that it is impossible to calculate Scope 3 emissions due to the data situation or data collection. This includes, for example, the use of products and services sold or materials purchased. Scope 3 emissions in the museum sector include visitors’ travel to the museum, transport of artefacts and similar aspects. The scientific consensus in the field of CO2 footprinting argues for the inclusion of Scope 3 emissions, referring to their relevance despite the difficulties of data collection (BOKU Kompetenzstelle für Klimaneutralität 2021, p. 3).

According to defined systemic limits, the footprinting assessment comprises Scope 1 – direct greenhouse gas emissions, Scope 2 – energy-related indirect GHG emissions and Scope 3 – other indirect GHG emissions. In addition to the complete (mandatory) survey of Scope 1 and 2 emission items (such as vehicle pool, leakage of cooling agents, and electricity), the most relevant Scope 3 footprinting items were integrated into the analysis. In addition to staff travel and visitors’ travel, this includes waste generation and transport, purchased materials (for storage management), other consumables (e.g. paper, IT equipment), transport of art(works), and purchased services.

The plan is to collect all necessary data and complete the GHG emissions calculation by July 2022. The first results of the case study will be presented at the IIC Wellington Congress “Conservation & Change: Response, Adaptation and Leadership”14 in the form of a poster. They will also be extensively discussed in the Journal of the American Institute for Conservation (AIC) – special issue “Sustainability within Conservation and Collections Care.”15

The detailed project documentation with evaluations, field reports, recommendations for action and working materials will be presented in the doctoral thesis. A factsheet will serve to explain the framework conditions of a CO2 balance and to show the relevant emission items and short- and medium-term reduction measures. It will also include an assessment of the respective CO2 reduction potential and, as far as possible, a prospective estimate of the residual emissions after implementation of the proposed measures.

The overarching goal of this cumulative thesis is to raise awareness sustainability issues, anchor the principle of sustainability in museum practice and provide impulses for the sustainable handling of collections. It will also serve as a model for testing the process of preparing a climate footprint report for museum repositories in order to provide museum staff with an instrument for gradually making the repositories “greener”.

After all, a well-functioning repository ready for future challenges is key to a museum’s success. At the heart of the collection, it not only facilitates museum operations but also enables targeted research and examination for exhibitions. “An archive is a depository for the future, a starting point, not an end point [...]” (Merano 2005, p. 18).

The fact that the bibliography includes many internet sources reflects the relevance and novelty of the topic. The temporary closures of museums due to the pandemic and the economic consequences for many exhibition venues (visitor declines of up to 75%) have brought the importance of sustainability and climate protection to the fore. Up to this point, specialist literature in printed form was only available in sporadic cases. Relevant professional journals published corresponding thematic issues only with 2021.

Aktionsnetzwerk Nachhaltigkeit in Kultur und Medien, Nachhaltigkeit und Zukunft – Klimabilanzen in Kulturinstitutionen von der Kulturstiftung des Bundes, Dokumentation des Pilotprojekts und Arbeitsmaterialien, 26.5.2021, URL:, accessed on July 14 2022.

Aktionsnetzwerk Nachhaltigkeit in Kultur und Medien, Pilotprojekt: Klimabilanzen für NRW Kultur, URL:, accessed on July 14 2022.

Peter Aufreiter et al., „Wie nachhaltig nachhaltig sein? Erfahrungen aus dem Technischen Museum Wien“, Museumskunde 86/2021, p. 50.

Annett Baumast et al. (eds.), Betriebliche Nachhaltigkeitsleistung messen und steuern, Stuttgart: Eugen Ulmer, 2019.

BMK – Bundesministerium für Klimaschutz, Umwelt, Energie, Mobilität, Innovation und Technologie, Das Übereinkommen von Paris, URL:, accessed on July 14 2022.

BMK – Bundesministerium für Klimaschutz, Umwelt, Energie, Mobilität, Innovation und Technologie, Museen mit dem Österreichischen Umweltzeichen, URL:, accessed on July 14 2022.

BMK – Bundesministerium für Klimaschutz, Umwelt, Energie, Mobilität, Innovation und Technologie, 17 Museen x 17 SDGs, URL:, accessed on July 14 2022.

BMNT/VKI – Bundesministerium für Nachhaltigkeit und Tourismus/Verein für Konsumenteninformation (ed.), Österreichisches Umweltzeichen. Richtlinie ZU 200. „208 Museen und Ausstellungshäuser“. Version 1.0 January 2018, URL:, accessed on July 14 2022.

BOKU – Universität für Bodenkultur Wien, Kompetenzstelle für Klimaneutralität, Factsheet Nachhaltige Museen 2021. Hot Spot Analyse CO2-Bilanzierung im Museumsbereich, 24.03.2022, pp. 1-20.

BOKU – Universität für Bodenkultur Wien, Competence Center for Climate Change, Projects, URL: https://klimaneutralitä, accessed on July 14 2022.

CIMAM, Toolkit on Environmental Sustainability in the Museum Practice, URL:, accessed on July 14 2022.

Deutscher Museumsbund, Nachhaltigkeit, URL:, accessed on July 14 2022.

Deutscher Museumsbund, Klimaschutz und Nachhaltigkeit im Museum, URL:, accessed on July 14 2022.

Katharina Egghart, „Berechnung der Treibhausgas-Emissionen des MAK – Museum für angewandte Kunst und der dem Klimaschutz gewidmeten Ausstellung CLIMATE CARE. Stellen wir uns vor, unser Planet hat Zukunft”, Neues Museum 4/2021, pp. 40-43.

FIS – Forschungsinformationssystem, Bilanzierung ökologischer Nachhaltigkeit, URL:, accessed on July 14 2022.

Christopher Garthe, “Klimaschutz im Museum. Herzstück oder Feigenblatt eines systemischen Wandels?“, KM 158/2021, pp. 53-58.

Christopher Garthe, „Nachhaltigkeit im Museumssektor voranbringen“, studio klv Blog-Post, 15.9.2020, URL:, accessed on July 14 2022.

Christopher Garthe, Mechelen Deklaration: Grundlage für mehr Nachhaltigkeit in Museen, Blogspot, 26.1.2017, URL:, accessed on July 14 2022.

Sabine Haag (ed.), Technological Studies Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna. Special volume: Storage. Vienna, 2015, URL:, accessed on July 14 2022.

Sabine Haag (ed.), Technologische Studien Kunsthistorisches Museum. Sonderband Depot, Vol. 9/10, Vienna: In-house publication 2013.

ICOM, Working Group on Sustainability, URL:, accessed on July 14 2022.

ICOM Austria, 17. Internationales Bodensee-Symposium: Inspiration Museum: Strategien für eine nachhaltige Zukunft, URL:, accessed on July 14 2022.

ICOM Austria, 17 museums x 17 SDGs – Ziele für nachhaltige Entwicklung, URL:, accessed on July 14 2022.

Andrea Joosten, “Pilot Projekt CO2 Rechner für die Kultur – eine Stadtbücherei inmitten von Museen und Theatern”, Zeitschrift für Bibiothekskultur, 21.6.2022, pp. 1-13, URL:, accessed on July 14 2022.

Tanja Kimmel/Anne Biber, “Nur mit Nachhaltigkeit bleiben Museen relevant – Ein Interview mit Bettina Leidl”, Restauratorenblätter – Papers in Conservation. For Future, Vol. 38, published by IIC Austria, Austrian Section of the IIC, Horn: Ferdinand Berger & Söhne 2021, pp. 11-26.

Tanja Kimmel et al., “Eine erste Evaluierung. Drei Jahre neues Zentraldepot des KHMs Wien“, Restauro 5/2014, pp. 34-41.

KdB – Kulturstiftung des Bundes, Carbon Footprinting in Cultural Institutions, URL:, accessed on July 14 2022.

Ki Culture, Ki Books, URL:, accessed on July 14 2022.

Ki Culture, Ki Futures, URL:, accessed on July 14 2022.

Nicola Kuhn, “Kunsthäuser sind oft CO2-Schleudern: ‚Wir brauchen eine Klima-Taskforce für Museen‘”, Der Tagesspiegel, 1.12.2020, URL:, accessed on July 14 2022.

Lexikon der Nachhaltigkeit, Drei Säulen Modell, URL:, accessed on July 14 2022.

Cornelia Meran (eds.), an/sammlung an/denken. Ein Haus und seine Sammlung im Dialog mit zeitgenössischer Kunst, Otto Müller: Wien 2005, p. 18.

Bea Mitchell, “Natural History Museum sets science-based carbon reduction targets”, bloolop., 5.11.2021, URL:, accessed on July 14 2022.

Museums For Future, Take Action, URL:, accessed on July 14 2022.

Museums For Future, The Declaration of Museums For Future, URL:, accessed on July 14 2022.

Museums For Future Facebook, Weltweiter Klimastreik 25. März, URL:, accessed on July 14 2022.

Museums for Future Germany, #9 “Temperaturfühler”, URL:, accessed on July 14 2022.

Museum Niederösterreich, Klima & Ich, URL:, accessed on July 14 2022.

Museumstag 2021, Museum: Nachhaltig! 32. Österreichischer Museumstag 6. bis 8. Oktober 2021, Graz, Projektpräsentation und Podiumsdiskussion – 17 Museen x 17 SDGs. Ziele für nachhaltige Entwicklung, 7.10.2021, URL:, accessed on July 14 2022.

Natural History Museum, Sustainable by Nature, URL:, accessed on July 14 2022.

NEMO – Network of European Museum Organisations, Museums and Sustainability, URL:, accessed on July 14 2022.

NEMO – Network of European Museum Organisations, “Be part of creating policy recommendation for a green museum sector”, News, 19.5.2022, URL:, accessed on July 14 2022.

NEMO – Network of European Museum Organisations, “NEMO survey on climate change and museums – Participate to help us build strong policy recommendations for a green museum sector”, News, 22.4.2022, URL:, accessed on July 14 2022.

Katharina Rustler, “Awareness first: Mehr Nachhaltigkeit in Österreichs Museen”, Der Standard, 3.3.2021, URL:, accessed on July 14 2022.

Lucia Seiß, “Museen als Akteure der Nachhaltigkeit. Aspekte zu ökologischen, sozialen und ökonomischen Lösungen im musealen Raum“, Rheinform 01/2021, pp. 4-7.

SiC – Sustainability in Conservation, Sustainable Practice, URL:, accessed on July 14 2022.

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Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Institut für Museumsforschung der Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin meldet: Besuchszahlen der Museen in Deutschland im Vor-Corona-Jahr 2019 weiterhin auf hohem Niveau, Pressemitteilung, 18.1.2021, URL:, accessed on July 14 2022.

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Fig. nr. 1: Museums for Future at the Global Climate Strike on September 25 2020. © Tom Poe Photography/Museums for Future

Fig. nr. 2: The weighted three-pillar model of sustainability emphasizes that economy, culture, and social issues depend on natural resources. © Graphic:

Fig. nr. 3: Agenda 2030: The 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. © United Nations

Fig. nr. 4: Exhibition view CLIMATE CARE. REIMAGINING SHARED PLANETARY FUTURES at MAK, 2021. Front: Xandra van der Eijk, installation with 3D-printed models of a receding glacier in Switzerland, 2018, bioplastic. Back: Thomas Wrede, Triptych Rhone Glacier Panorama II, 2018, pigment print on fine art paper. © Stefan Lux/MAK

Fig. nr. 5: Central Storage of the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, exterior view. © KHM-Museumsverband

Fig. nr. 6: Storage area for Greek and Roman Antiquities. © KHM-Museumsverband

Kunsthistorisches Museum Association: Elisabeth B. Mittendorfer (Environmental and Sustainability Officer), Albert Badr (Head of Security and Buildings), Stefan Fleck (Head of Construction Projects and Procurement), Paul Frey (Managing Director), Sabine Haag (Director General).

BOKU Competence Center for Climate Change: Joachim Thaler, Sascha Mohnke, Sarah Siemers, Sigrid Karl (Project staff).

Thesis supervision: Martina Griesser‐Stermscheg (Team Leader, Research Institute, Vienna Museum of Science and Technology), Gabriela Krist (Head, Institute of Conservation, University of Applied Arts Vienna).

© Tanja Kimmel 2023. All rights reserved, including the reproduction of extracts or figures.