As part of the AM’s renewed focus on climate change, a new display was installed within the permanent exhibition Surviving Australia ready for the Museum’s reopening in late 2020. Titled Changing Climate, the exhibit explores key themes of how humans are changing the climate, the scale of impacts, what we can do on a personal level and what must to be done at higher levels of governance. As fits with the AM’s science and research initiatives, there is a particular focus on how climate change impacts Australia’s ecosystems and animals. Because of its significant arid areas, valuable agricultural industry, major coastal cities and diverse ecosystems and wildlife that support our tourist trade, our country is particularly at risk from climate change.
Changing Climate brings together specimens and personal objects that reveal stories ranging from renewable energy generation being adopted by a farmer in Crookwell, impacts on the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics, and views from a doctor in Western Sydney and a City of Sydney arborist about combatting rising heat and pollution from fossil fuels. Several touchscreen interactives allow more immersive and personalised exploration of individual and community actions and broader impacts across Australia, including the economy, tourism, food, agriculture, infrastructure, sports, biodiversity and health.
An essential part of this project was working with communities, activists, educators and scientists to create a series of films that feature in the exhibit and on our website. These valuable relationships and the contribution of knowledge have a life both within the Changing Climate display and moving forward through the AM’s climate change initiatives raising awareness onsite, offsite and online.
The people featured in the exhibition videos are:
- Nyimirr (Fleur Magick Dennis) and Millmullian (Laurance Magick Dennis), cultural educators, Milan Dhiiyaan
- Tommy Esau, Leader, Kwaio people, Malaita, Solomon Islands
- Professor Tim Flannery, Distinguished Fellow in Climate Change, Australian Museum.
- Dr Peter Lawrence, Climate and Global Dynamics Laboratory, National Centre for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), Colorado, USA
- Dr Kim Loo, General Practitioner, Carlingford. Member of Doctors for the Environment Australia
- Dr Jenny Newell, Manager, Climate Change Projects, Australian Museum
- Charlie Prell, Sheep farmer, Crookwell. Deputy Chair, Farmers for Climate Action
- Dr Chris Reid, Research Scientist, Entomology, Australian Museum Research Institute
- Varsha Yajman, Spokesperson, Schools Strike 4 Climate
Australia has a long history of developing amazing ideas. From First Nations innovators to the inventors of Wi-Fi, our thinkers have led the way. And now, they're taking on one of our greatest challenges: climate change.
In this showcase on display at the Australian Museum during 2021, visitors learnt about inventions and innovative approaches offering positive solutions to the climate crisis. See some of the technology and practices Australians are working on to reduce pollution, create affordable and clean energy, support the richness of plant and animal life, and ensure a livable future for all in the virtual documentation of the exhibition.
#CapturingClimateChange is an innovative photography exhibition that launched online in the first week of February 2020. With an invited guest photographer/artist contributing a gallery of works each month, the exhibition has had a strong lead with powerful views from across a variety of Australia’s communities. In addition, the Museum has invited the public to upload their own images and captions, a rich offering that continues to ‘capture’ experiences of climate change, its impacts and its solutions in Australia and the Pacific.
What are you seeing in our climate-changed country? Share your images, see what others are capturing and how we are responding. These images chart impacts as well as solutions. They are striking and often beautiful but reveal a planet in peril. #CapturingClimateChange#CapturingClimateChange
The Australian Museum’s pioneering climate change exhibition: 2009
In 2008, the Museum set out on a bold journey – to create a ‘season of climate change’ that would launch the AM’s ongoing commitment to engage the public with this important issue. We aimed for every visitor to our exhibition, programs or web events to leave feeling that climate change is an issue about them, knowing what kind of future they want to choose and being empowered to make changes in their own life to move towards that future. The ‘season’, which ran from May to August 2009, was instigated on the back of audience evaluations that showed the topic was the most popular subject for an exhibition at the Museum but also that most people had a confused and fragmented knowledge of climate change, which prevented them from engaging fully with the consequences or taking action.
The exhibition component was called Climate Change: Our Future, Our Choice and was an imagination of two worlds; one where we did nothing and one where we did something about climate change. Visitors started from today, with an introduction to the science, and then moved forward into two different futures. In one, they could see the dying Great Barrier Reef, watch the news of the future, come face to face with the huge number of Australian species that could be extinct in the next few decades or flood different parts of the world in a unique sea-level rise interactive. In a more positive future, visitors encountered a three-metre-square cube showing how much greenhouse gas they are responsible for each day, discovered the many options for renewable energy or became a world leader in an interactive game that enabled them to negotiate tough decisions and cooperate with other visitors to see if they could save the planet. The last section of the exhibition was for community dialogue, and visitors could respond to the content in a massed display of written post cards.
The exhibition then travelled to WA where it was shown in a number of regional museums and at Scitech.