Top tips for communicating environmental policies to visitors

In March 2014 Kate went along to the Green Knowledge Cafe as part of the West Midlands Museum Development Reducing Bills programme, which is supporting a cohort of museums to become more environmentally and financially sustainable. Kate presented her top tips on how to communicate successfully and cost-effectively with visitors.

Here is a summary of the workshop as posted on the Marches Network website. Top tips included:

  • The green agenda can help you to achieve other objectives. Telling visitors about behind the scenes work helps to establish a more relaxed and personal relationship that can improve the overall visitor experience. It can also help show stakeholders and funders how you help to meet their aims
  • Plan this work as per any other interpretation project: your motivation, audience and resources will determine your technique
  • How you frame communication is really important; use a positive message that doesn’t make visitors feel guilty. We saw some great examples that used questions and humour to engage visitors effectively (see some of these examples here)
  • Find the right technique for your audience, for example a geo cache trail with information about conservation might work really well for families
  • Don’t forget that the medium shapes the message: where possible use sustainable materials. Eco foamex, upcycled materials (see example here) and panels made from recycled materials are all options
  • Think about how the green agenda fits in with your overall interpretation strategy. Is it a big story or is it just part of the work of your organisation? Research has shown that for most sites, visitors want behind the scenes information to be woven in throughout their visit. Existing stories and collections can be presented with a green emphasis where appropriate
  • Celebrate your successes and communicate future ambitions.

For more information on Green Museums project checkout their blog.

Here are Heritage Insider we are passionate about being environmental and socially responsible and work hard to reduce the impact of our work and travel on the environment.

We will more than happily talk to you about how to make your site or organisation more sustainable, just get in touch.