Stemming the Tide
Stemming the Tide
Global Strategies for Sustaining Cultural Heritage Through Climate Change
Thursday, March 5, 2020–Friday, March 6, 2020
Climate change has become one of the most significant and fastest growing threats to people and their cultural heritage around the globe. Yet cultural heritage sites and collections can also serve as an invaluable source of resilience for communities to address climate change.
Over two days, the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Smithsonian’s National Collections Program convened a series of presentations and discussions that explored the intersection of cultural heritage and climate change. This conversation examined the impact of climate change on cultural heritage and communities worldwide, discussed the responsibilities of stewards of cultural heritage in fostering collaborative solutions, addressed urgent questions of equity and inclusion, and identified strategies that leverage cultural heritage for climate action.
On Thursday, March 5, a full-day symposium in the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s McEvoy Auditorium highlighted innovative climate stories and strategies in cultural heritage. The second day of dynamic breakout sessions on Friday, March 6 was held at six Smithsonian museums and archives. Speakers and discussion topics explored six categories of cultural heritage identified by the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS):
- Museums and Collections
- Archaeological Sites
- Built Heritage (Buildings and Structures)
- Cultural Landscapes and Historic Urban Landscapes
- Cultural Communities
- Intangible Cultural Heritage
This symposium aimed to empower cultural heritage authorities, managers, and advocates to pursue more ambitious engagement and collaborative approaches with climate change matters.
This symposium is presented as part of the Smithsonian’s Earth Optimism initiative.
- Kenneth Kimmell, president, Union of Concerned Scientists
- Alison Tickell, director, Julie’s Bicycle
- Scott Miller, deputy under secretary for collections and interdisciplinary support, Smithsonian
- Carl Elefante, principal emeritus, Quinn Evans Architects
- Nicole Heller, curator of Anthropcene studies, Carnegie Museum of Natural History
- Victoria Herrmann, president and managing director, The Arctic Institute
- Isabel Rivera-Collazo, assistant professor on biological, ecological, and human adaptations to climate change, University of California San Diego
- Ashley Robbins Wilson, The Graham Gund Architect, National Trust for Historic Preservation
- Janene Yazzie, sustainable development program coordinator, International Indian Treaty Council
- Jean Carroon, prinicipal, Goody Clancy
- Henry McGhie, founder, Curating Tomorrow
- Jenny Newell, manager of climate change projects, Australian Museum
- Erin Seekamp, professor of parks, recreation, and tourism management, North Carolina State University
- Sarah Sutton, principal, Sustainable Museums
- Meredith Wiggins, science and technology policy fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science
Explore the intersection of cultural heritage and climate change with this a series of presentations hosted by the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Smithsonian’s National Collections Program, as part of the multi-day conference Stemming the Tide: Global Strategies for Sustaining Cultural Heritage through Climate Change. View symposium playlist on YouTube.
Presenters include Kenneth Kimmell, president, Union of Concerned Scientists; Alison Tickell, director, Julie’s Bicycle; Amber Kerr, chief of conservation, Smithsonian American Art Museum; Andrew Potts, coordinator of Climate Change and Heritage Working Group, International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS); and Scott Miller, deputy under secretary for collections and interdisciplinary support, Smithsonian.
Stemming the Tide: Global Strategies for Sustaining Cultural Heritage Through Climate Change is made possible with support from the Smithsonian's National Collections Program, and the Provost’s One Smithsonian Symposia award.