What is a Museum? An Exploration in Six Parts
Tuesday April 20, 2021
12pm EST
Museums must acknowledge the urgency of the crisis in nature and the imperative need to develop and implement sustainable solutions. How prepared are museums to face climate change, civil unrest and economic crisis? The toll to pay when preparedness is the last of our priorities.

Reference Guide for presentation 

ICOM-US Members can view the recording here.   


Lisa Yun Lee, Director, National Public Housing Museum
Morien Rees, Museum Development Advisor, Varanger Museum and Chair, ICOM Working Group on Sustainability (Norway)
Sarah Sutton, Principal, Sustainable Museums 

Kathy Dwyer Southern, Professor, Museum Studies Program, George Washington University, ICOM-US Board Member and Immd. Past Co-Chair
William Eiland, Director, Georgia Museum of Art, ICOM-US Board Member and Treasurer


Lisa Yun Lee
Lisa Yun Lee (BA, Bryn Mawr College, Ph.D, Duke University) is a cultural activist and the Executive Director of the National Public Housing Museum. She is also an Associate Professor in Art History and Gender and Women's Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago, teaching faculty with the Prison Neighborhood Art + Education Project, and a member of the Chicago Torture Justice Memorials. She has published books and articles about aesthetics and politics, public art, and the potential of museums as radical sites of resistance, and for participatory democracy.  Lisa served as a Co-Chair of Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s Arts & Culture Transition Team, and on the board of the American Alliance of Museums.  She is currently a board member of the Field Foundation, Illinois State Museum, 3Arts, and on the Mayor's Committee for Monuments, Memorials, and Historical Reckoning.

Morien Rees
Morien Rees is a museum advisor at Varanger Museum in Norway. Educated at the Welsh School of Architecture he has worked as an architect in the UK and Norway. Since 1994 he has worked widely in the museum sector in Norway developing museums and exhibition projects. At present  he is engaged in a feasibility study investigating the resiting of  Vardø museum in a derelict gymnastic hall from 1934 and developing a symposium on Femicide to be held on International Women’s’ day in 2022 at Steilneset, the site of Louise Bourgeois’ memorial to the victims of the 17th  century witchcraft trials in Northern Norway.

He is the chair of ICOM’s Working Group on Sustainability.

Sarah Sutton
Sarah Sutton is Principal of Sustainable Museums, a consultancy for cultural organizations pursuing climate action, and is the Cultural Sector Lead for America is All In, the US subnational actors supporting the Paris Agreement. She is also the grants manager for the Frankenthaler Climate Initiative, a grant program supporting energy efficiency and clean energy projects at visual arts institutions. She teaches in the Harvard University Extension School Museum Studies program, and serves on the Climate Task Force for the American Psychological Association. Sarah is a co-author of two editions of The Green Museum (as Sarah Brophy) and author of Environmental Sustainability at Historic Sites & Museums.