From October 24 – 26, museum professionals from around the world gathered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to discuss the validity of a new geological era. The Anthropocene is the concept that human activity has had a profound and pervasive impact on the planet, such that its effects will be present in the fossil record millions of years from now. This warrants a dedicated geological era. The concept of humanity’s impact on and interaction with the global environment touches on science, conservation, artistic expression, philosophy, and even recreation. Natural history museums are at the nexus of these considerations, researching arcane ecological and evolutionary concepts, interpreting them for the public.
Matt addressed the delegation with a call to action, summoning the notion that people possess varying degrees of attachment to the environment when they set out to visit museums, and therefore museums must provide encounters and programs that fall within four key stages of advocacy: wonder, knowledge, critical thinking, and action.