Museums as Pathways to a Better Future – Part I

Mark Walhimer Future of Museums Leave a Comment

  • Part I: Museums as Pathways to a Better Future
  • Part II: “How To” Museums a Pathway to a Better Future
  • Part III: Nature Play as a Case Study
  • Part IV: White Paper
  • Part V: Research Paper
  • Part VI: Expand to 350 Climate Change Experiences
  • Part VII: Digital Science NSF
  • Part VIII: Digital Museums book
  • Part IX: Mark Walhimer, Topic for Ph.D


The United States (and maybe the world) is at a tipping point. Do we continue on our current path of apathy, or do we acknowledge our past and our potential future and make fundamental changes to how we live, work, and interact?

– Climate Change

This last summer has made it dramatically clear that climate change is causing extreme weather for which we are ill-prepared. The recent United Nations report flashed a code red warning light that we only have a few years to make changes to our behavior in order to maintain current conditions before they further deteriorate.

– Future of Work

COVID-19 has changed the way we work and live, and has forever changed museums. This is only the beginning of the changes to the nature of work; with automation, artificial intelligence, and global supply chains, work will be dramatically different in the near future. Economic inequality shows the dangers of ever-expanding capitalism without civil societal boundaries resulting in culture wars, as seen with resistance to COVID-19 vaccines.  

– Changing Civil Society, Ethics and Mores

The United States (and maybe the world) is moving toward an authoritarian fundamentalist future. This summer, we witnessed China refuse the WHO investigation into the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. We witnessed a humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and the Black Lives Matter protests. We witnessed attacks on critical race theory and the scientific community. Russia and China are on the ascent, and the easier path is to follow instead of lead. Museums and the people who work in museums have an opportunity to redirect the pathway to a hopeful collective future. 


Museums have an active and important role to play in a more hopeful future. Together, museums and communities can work to counteract climate change, to train and prepare people for the new nature of work, and to be places of ethical and philosophical responsibility, building souls for our new future.  


  1. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Full Report
  2. The U.N. climate report’s five futures – decoded
  3. Our Common Purpose Reinventing American Democracy for the 21st Century
  4. PBS The Future of Work
  5. One Thing We Can Agree On Is That We’re Becoming a Different Country
  6. Capitalism is in crisis. To save it, we need to rethink economic growth
  7. Income Inequality Index
  8. Rising inequality affecting more than two-thirds of the globe
  9. Museums are Not Neutral
  10. Black Lives Matter May Be the Largest Movement in U.S. History
  11. Science Alone Can’t Heal a Sick Society
  12. Weather Disasters Have Become 5 Times As Common, Thanks In Part To Climate Change
  13. Here Comes the Autumn of Anxiety
  14. America Is Giving the World a Disturbing New Kind of War
  15. “Failing empires tend to be very violent as they decline”. Samuel Moyn interview
  16. Are We at the End of the Future? What Happens to a World When There’s Nothing to Run Towards?
  17. Brooks and Capehart on the anniversary of 9/11, the politics of vaccinations
  18. KFF COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor: Profile Of The Unvaccinated

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