skip to content

Research & Collections Programme

Growing research through the convening power of Cambridge’s collections

Project 2: Evidence based audience engagement with environmental issues

Internal investigators:

  • Charlotte Connelly, Museum Curator, The Polar Museum (Scott Polar Research Institute) (PI)
  • S-J Harknett, Outreach Organiser, Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology,and Visitor Engagement Project Coordinator, University of Cambridge Museums (PI)
  • Jenny Bull, Engagement Coordinator, University of Cambridge Museums (PI)
  • Dr Jane Gregory, Institute of Continuing Education

Cambridge collections: Polar Museum, Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Cambridge University Library

There is an anecdotal sense that visitor attitudes to environmental issues have changed radically in recent years following water cooler TV events like the most recent Blue Planet series, the rise in environmental activist movements including Extinction Rebellion and school strikes initiated by Greta Thunburg, and consistent reporting of weather and climate events in the news such as wildfires in North America, year on year low levels of Arctic sea ice and 2019's record breaking summer temperatures in the UK. 

This project will produce an audience evaluation report that explores museum visitors’ levels of knowledge and expectations around climate change. The project will seek to engage with collections across the UCM using the Polar Museum and MAA as pilot spaces. Other public engagement organisations will also be welcome to participate if the agreed methodology is appropriate to their setting. The range of disciplinary collections across humanities and science subjects cared for by the UCM introduces novelty to the research.