The peer learning programme builds on the particular power of museums to draw on past stories of rapid transition and transformation; and inspire museums and their communities to shape new stories and actions to address the climate and ecological emergency. 

  • How have people adapted and innovated in the past to meet profound social and existential challenges?
  • What have we learnt during the pandemic about our capacity for change?
  • What might it mean for humanity and other species to thrive in the 21st century?
  • How might we re-think museums for thriving people, places and planet?

Museum teams will work as a community of practice to explore and shape ideas; to offer and receive review and feedback; and to refine their thinking and working.  Towards the summer, participants will host online conversations with the wider sector to share their experience and learning.

The participating museums teams are as follows:

  • Cornwall Museums Partnership (CMP) and Royal Cornwall Museum (RCM)
  • Hull: Yorkshire’s Maritime City project, Hull City Council and Hull Culture and Leisure
  • Leeds Museums and Galleries (LMG)
  • Museum of Oxford & Fusion Arts
  • National Waterways Museum, Canal & River Trust
  • Oriel y Parc National Park Visitor Centre and Landscape Gallery, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.
  • RWA (Royal West of England Academy). Bristol
  • Saltaire World Heritage Education Association (SWHEA). Shipley
  • Scarborough Museums Trust (SMT)
  • Sustainable Exhibitions for Museums Group [SEFM], V&A, Science Museum (SMG) and Museum of Ordinary People [MOOP]
  • Tees Valley Museums
  • University of Cambridge Museums group (UCM): the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (MAA) and Museum of Zoology (UMZC)
  • Wakefield Museums & Castles, Wakefield Council.

Alongside the peer learning programme we are running a programme of No Going Back conversations  – public sessions in which a range of external contributors from psychologists to bioregionalists, activists to civic managers have offered provocations and invited participants to think afresh about the role and potential of museums: How might museums embrace compassionate values to strengthen communities and civic responsibility? How might museums tell a new story of place? How might they become engine rooms of the imagination and build creative connections to address the climate and ecological emergency? The conversations will continue into 2021 and are recorded and available here.

Participating museum groups will explore the provocations and inspiration offered in these conversations as a springboard for fresh ideas and responses.

They will be supported by the Happy Museum core team and by members of the Happy Museum’s Community of Practice – a network of affiliates who will be invited to mentor and support participants.


Commissioned by Season for Change, a UK-wide cultural programme inspiring urgent and inclusive action on climate change, led by Artsadmin and Julie’s Bicycle, and supported by Arts Council England and Paul Hamlyn Foundation.

www.seasonforchange.org.uk @jointheseason_ #SeasonforChange


Images clockwise from top left

Hilary Jennings

Paul Clarke

Dave Lowe on Unsplash

Belinda Fewings on Unsplash