Target: Not An Alternative arts collective
Goal: Praise opening of revolutionary new Natural History Museum, which recognizes man-made climate change
It may surprise you to learn that some of the United States’ biggest natural history museums are financially bound to notorious climate change denier David Koch. The conservative billionaire sits on the board of DC’s Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and New York’s American Museum of Natural History. This relationship creates some problems with the focal points of museum exhibits and educational offerings, because thanks to Koch’s influence these institutions are more likely to overlook the way that political and social forces shape our environment. In response, arts collective Not An Alternative recently unveiled their new counter-institution The Natural History Museum (NHM).
The NHM is a “pop-up” style museum that includes the offerings of a traditional natural history museum, but weaves throughout the threads of social and political influence that are so often missing in existing institutions thanks to obligations to wealthy donors. The NHM’s launch features artists, historians, activists, scientists, and more in a series of workshops, panels, and performances that introduce the idea behind the project. As Not An Alternative told Creative Time Reports‘s Marisa Mazria Katz, “In the long term, this project aims to model the museum of the future…Wouldn’t it be great if the institutions that provide us with our basic perspective on nature weren’t hamstrung by the threat of self-censorship that comes with accepting corporate cash? And what if they actively championed a version of nature capable of sustaining life for generations to come?”
Not An Alternative will also release a letter in the near future to science museums urging them to divest themselves of donors who deny the man-made reality that is climate change. Among the letter’s signatories already are dozens of prominent climate scientists, such as James Hansen, NASA’s former head climatologist.
By signing this petition, you are congratulating Not An Alternative on their successful opening at the Queens Museum. You are thanking them for providing a thoughtful counter-institution to the existing natural history museum, demonstrating that museums can and should refuse to team up with climate change deniers.
Dear Mr. Jones and Ms. Economopolous,
I am excited about and impressed by your recent project, The Natural History Museum. Your thoughtful response to the funding of natural history museums by climate change deniers is an inspiration to science lovers and activists around the country. I hope this project will arm the public with the knowledge they need to defy the traditional natural history museum and demand that local museums divest themselves of anti-science funding partners.
Thank you for working toward a future institution that represents the full range of influences that shape our environment, from the natural to the sociopolitical. Thank you for demanding a future where natural history museums are not funded or influenced by anti-science billionaires like David Koch.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: J.M.Luijt via Wikimedia Commons