Climate Change Exhibitions

A chronology of exhibitions dealing with global warming/ climate change/ anthropocene.

Primarily compiled by interns at the American Museum of Natural History, August 2015. With additions made in 2018.



1992  Global Warming: Understanding the Forecast
American Museum of Natural History, New York

‘AMNH held a major temporary exhibit Global Warming: Understanding the Forecast. During its eight-month run attracted over 700,000 visitors and subsequently traveled to many other venues.’ [Mike Novacek]  The exhibition received the American Association of Museums Curators Award.
See: Eva Zelig and Stephanie L. Pfirman, ‘Handling a Hot Topic—Global Warming: Understanding the Forecast’ Curator: The Museum Journal 36

1997  Understanding the Forecast: Global Warming, 
Opened at American Museum of Natural History, New York (1992), then moved to Smithsonian (May-August 1997). Interactive displays. 443,000 visitors.  Note about the exhibition at the Smithsonian in the US Climate Action Report 2002.

1998   Under the Sun: an Exhibition of Light

Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum (June 21-Nov. 1998) and then Smithsonian, Washington, DC (June 21-Sept. 1999).

2000    Polar Thaw

American Association for the Advancement of Science, Washington DC

·       30-print exhibit of photographs from locations of Arctic and Antarctic climate warming.

·       also exhibited at the Science Museum of Minnesota, then Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago - fall 2003


2002 –2003  Global Links, Smithsonian, DC

·       Used the El Nino weather phenomenon to demonstrate the dynamic interrelations among the Earth's 4 components -- the geosphere (land), atmosphere (air), hydrosphere (water), and biosphere (life) -- and the effects of these components felt around the world.

·       Highlights included: a multi-screen presentation of ground-based and satellite images, including recent views of Earth taken from space; weekly updates of an El Nino "watch"; ancient Peruvian artifacts that demonstrate the far-reaching cultural effects of El Nino; interactive displays where visitors can explore the work of Smithsonian scientists.



2002  Climate, the Experiment with Planet Earth (“Klima: das Experiment mit dem Planeten Erde”)
Deutsches Museum

·      “ A heap of coal and a steam engine, illustrating industrialization as the root cause of the climate problem, greets the entering visitor. Elevated paths lined with sandbags lead through the exhibition.

·       The highlight of the final section is a smashed, muddy car that was fished out of a branch of the River Elbe after last summer's devastating floods. A source of carbon dioxide, destroyed in the forces it unleashed with its own emissions? Man's relationship with Earth's climate is an experiment that has got out of hand, the exhibition seems to imply.

·       The main emphasis of the show is on today's climate as a product of nature, technology and politics. A supercomputer next to a negotiation table brings home the interplay between modern research and international treaties. Mitigation and adaptation - the two ways of limiting climate damage - are encapsulated in a comparison of soil-tillage methods and a model of a flood-warning.”

· – Page 84            


2003-2004     Forces of Change
Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.
September 2003 – September 2004
Global Links:  a range of programs and exhibitions. Including: El Nino's Powerful Reach, Arctic: A Friend Behaving Strangely, and others.
Online exhibition

2006  Atmosphere: Change is in the Air
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

The exhibition explores the chemistry, properties, and significance of earth’s atmosphere—the invisible envelope that surrounds and affects us all.

2006   Arctic, a Friend Acting Strangely
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Washington DC

The exhibit’s story of the changing Arctic is illustrated by a rich array of objects from the Smithsonian’s collections, supplemented by photographs, video footage, satellite animations, graphic illustrations, and computer interactive exploration stations.

There is a small mention of global warming in the exhibit, but the potential human causes of the melting arctic are not explored.

2007  Climate change: Our global experiment
Harvard Museum of Natural History (Cambridge, Mass.)

2007  Klima X
The Norwegian National Museum of Science, Technology, and Medicine, Oslo

2007  Feeling the Heat: The Climate Challenge
Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego (La Jolla, California)

2007-2008   Water: H2O = Life
American Museum of Natural History, New York
Includes climate change content.


2008-2009   Climate Change: The threat to life and a new energy future

American Museum of Natural History, New York

Review  ‘Apocalypse Now, via diorama’


2008   The Last Days of Shishmaref 
Rotterdam, Netherlands

·       Photographs alongside a spatial montage of film scenes. “…the climate was a backdrop for the histories of people, of a community, of a life in all its paradoxical intricacies”


2008  Nature Unleashed
Traveling Exhibit, Field Museum, Chicago

·      “To understand how natural phenomena work, interactive displays and animations let you trigger an earthquake, simulate a tsunami, generate a virtual volcano, and stand within the center of a roaring tornado. Images, artifacts, and inspiring survivor stories then bring home the realities of recent disasters by revealing how people adapt to living at risk. So prepare yourself for a memorable and powerful experience as Nature Unleashed immerses you in the forces of geology and weather that have shaped our planet and our lives.”



2008 Waters of Tuvalu: Nation at Risk
Immigration Museum in Melbourne, Australia

“The curators and organizers were members of the Tuvaluan community in Melbourne including Tito Tapungao, Fikau Teponga, and members of the Melbourne chapter of the Tuvaluan expat organization Kaiga Tuvalu. Geographer and environmental activist Rob Gell also contributed. The intended audience was both Tuvaluan immigrants and the Australian public.”  - quoted from Peter Rudiak-Gould, in J. Newell, L. Robin and K. Wehner (eds) Curating the Future: Museums, Communities and Climate Change (Routledge).


2009   Climate Change: our future, our choice

Australian Museum, Sydney

Then a Climate Change traveling exhibit

Climate change: our future, our choice

Western Australian Museum



2009  Climate change exhibition

Uganda Museum and the British High Commission


2009  Earth: Art of a Changing World

Royal Academy of Art, London

“It’s about art, and contemporary artists. The issue – the science – is sitting underneath it. We wanted to create an exhibition that wasn’t literal in any sense. There aren’t any icebergs or polar bears in the show. We wanted it to have an element of looking to the future – hopefulness, as opposed to death, doom and destruction.” There’s a small amount of familiar work there, such as the inclusion of Gormley’s famous “Field” of little fired-clay people (in its Amazonian version). But most of the work is new, or new-ish.

So: it’s a brave move by the RA, and one which will doubtless attract its fair share of criticism for either doom-mongering (strongly denied by Soriano) or political correctness. I’m all in favour. After all the media, scientific and political frenzy surrounding climate change, I’m very happy to let artists provide an alternative view. And just as happy to see both sides of the RA working together at last.

©Hugh Pearman. First published in The Sunday Times, London, 22 November 2009, as “What on Earth is this?”


2009-2010    Climate Change in Our World

American Association for the Advancement of Science Hq Atrium, Washington DC

November 10, 2009 to April 30, 2010.

·       Exhibition of large-scale color photographs available for museums and science centers after extended display in Boston, 2014-2014.


2010  Then & Now: The Changing Arctic Landscape

Museum of the North, University of Alaska (Fairbanks, Alaska)

2010  Then & Now traveling exhibit

Managed by the Burke Museum, Seattle

·       23 large-format framed photos [10 sets of photo pairs and 3 singles], 12 labels, 16 framed graphic panels, 5 Arctic indigenous resident quote panels, and a DVD containing the 360-degree Arctic Panorama interactive program, Elders Speak/Portraits of Change presentation, Permafrost and Discovering Past Temperatures animations


2010  Hot Pink Flamingos: Stories of Hope in a Changing Sea

Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, California

·     “…connects our visitors with the ocean and climate change through engaging live exhibits of compelling animals and interpretive graphics and activities. The exhibition reflects our visitors’ current understanding and relationship to climate change, communicates that there is hope— that people can make a difference by working together and taking action—and identifies specific actions they can take to address climate change”


·       Using ocean wildlife to stress the impacts of climate change


2010   ‘Prove it! All the evidence you need to believe in climate change’
Science Museum, London

·       Controversial white washing, down-playing of issue, as if non-urgent.

·       Funded by Shell


2012 [earth science exhibition]

Perot Museum of Nature and Science, Dallas
Not displayed: a ‘Climate Change’ panel in earth science exhibit

-eg of reluctance of museums across the country to discuss how human activities are altering the climate:

4-by-2.5-foot panel titled "Climate Change" was supposed to have appeared, providing an explanation of the trapping of Co2 and warming of the atmosphere. It included statements about humans burning fossil fuels contributing to this process. It was dropped from the show.


2012-2013  Our Global Kitchen: Food, Nature, Culture

American Museum of Natural History, New York

·       Includes some climate change content


2012  Seasons of Change: Global warming in your backyard

Peabody Museum, Yale

·       photographs, interactives, local artefacts



Rivers of Ice: Vanishing Glaciers of the Greater Himalaya

MIT Museum, Massachusetts Institute of Technology


2013  Weird Weather, NY State traveling exhibition for rural audiences

Museum of the Earth, Ithaca, NY


2013  Unfold

Beijing, China

·       Art exhibition – all of the artists have been to places affected by climate change/documented it – all art created in response to experiences (cool segment in article about an artificial diamond created from a polar bear bone – which is more important: the diamond or the polar bear?)

·       Traveled to Vienna, and has also been shown in New York, London and Chicago


2013   Climate Change Miami

·       A multiscreen and multiuser exhibit created with the Miami Science Museum

·       Scientific data, photographs and video; has controllable 4-foot Magic Planet spherical display, four large display monitors, and three independent kiosk stations for visitor interaction.


2013 The Drowning Room

By Reynold Reynolds and Patrick Jolley, displayed at EXPO1, Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), New York.

Rain installation


2013-2014    Carbon 14: Climate is Culture

Cape Farewell and Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto

·       Artworks


2014-  Atmosphere: exploring climate science

Science Museum, London 

·       Primarily interactives.


2014 - The Jockey Museum of Climate Change, Hong Kong
The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Exhibition within the Jockey Museum of Climate Change:
Climate Change and Its Impact
Theatre piece: The Drama of Climate Change


2014   Climate + Change

International Mountain Museum, Pokhara

Kathmandu early 2014; Pokara 27 Sept 2014-

·       The exhibition features science and imagery from the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) and striking photography from David Breashears, GlacierWorks and other Nepali photographers that showcase the rapidly changing Himalayas and highlight solutions being implemented in the region. The exhibition is traveling to Pokhara after it was shown in Kathmandu for five months in early 2014.


2014  Climate Change, Climate Challenge

Science Center, Singapore

-        8 zones: science focus for most.

-        zone 2 –‘impacts’ is about coral reefs

-        Zone 7 -  about the ‘eco home’ – green technology

-        zone 8 – Singapore’s action plan

-        ‘What will life in Singapore be like with climate change and global warming? Or, anywhere else in the world? This exhibition aims to bring this 21st Century planet-wide challenge to our visitors by relating the science and the experts’ projections of possible local effects.’



2013-2014   Rising Waters: Photographs of Sandy

Museum of the City of New York, New York with the International Center of Photography

-        emotive, focused on impacts on individuals and their homes, their streets, and neighborhoods

-        Presented to mark the one-year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, Rising Waters draws on work submitted by over a thousand photographers, both professional and amateur, who responded to an open call for images in the storm's wake. The juried exhibition features striking before-and-after images of the hurricane's impact on the New York region, including preparations, the storm's destructive effects, and the ongoing rebuilding efforts.

-        website lists a phone number to call to ‘share your stories’: 3 minute recording




Nature’s Fury: The science of natural disasters

American Museum of Natural History, New York

·       Interactives

·       Tells stories of impacts of Hurricane Katrina and Cyclone Evan – considers impacts on communities. Some artefacts from Katrina.



2014 – 2015   Climate Change in Our World II

Exhibited in Munich and Brussels, 2014, and traveling in Europe, 2015

·       A new version of Gary Braasch's color print exhibition "Climate Change in Our World," – art exhibition

·       Focused on changing landscapes - locations of the photographs include the Arctic, high mountain regions such as the Himalayas and the Alps, Peru, North America, China, Kenya, Australia and Antarctica. Images were updated for the show, including new repeat photography of glaciers in the Andes and Alps. The captions are detailed descriptions connecting the science, effects and solutions to local issues.


2014 – 2016   Willkommen im Anthropozän/Welcome to the Anthropocene

Deutsches Museum, Berlin

December 5, 2014 to January 31, 2016



2015   Human Origins: Climate Change and Human Evolution

National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian, Washington DC.

·       Exhibition on human population, environmental change, within hall of human origins (controversial due to Koch family involvement)

·       Interactives, 3D graphs, stats, etc. Global story. No individuals.


2015  Earth Lab: Degrees of Change

Koshland Science Museum, Washington, DC

·       Science exhibition.

·       Human aspects of story are minimal, sanitized


2015  Bill Nye’s Climate Lab Exhibit

Chabot Space and Science Center, Oakland, CA

·       “Modern civilization has given the Earth a bit of a fever, and it’ll take more than acetaminophen to break it. Let Bill Nye the "Climate Guy" show you how to cure an over-warm planet, tame monster storms, detox the oceans and keep continental ice sheets where they belong - on continents! Ice is nice...”

·       Focused on younger audience



2015  Living with the Ocean

Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute

·       interactive exhibition exploring the problems facing the world’s oceans and some solutions – focused on ocean and ocean life

·       http://www.buei.


2016  Anthropocene

Musée de la Nature du Valais, Sion, Switzerland


2017  Climate Change in Our World
Wilson Center, Washington, D.C.  Photographs by Gary Braasch.

'Gary Braasch's photographic exhibition "Climate Change in Our World" enjoyed an extended run at the Boston Museum of Science from June 22, 2013 through January 2, 2014. Thousands of museum visitors were engaged and educated by the photographs informed by information from scientific research, showing scientists at work collecting data, and locations ranging from the Arctic to Bangladesh and the Great Barrier Reef where climate change is already having an effect. The show's final images are of some of the actions being taken to reduce global warming pollution and limit the effects of climate change. Braasch, winner of the Ansel Adams Award, has been documenting climate change and its solutions since 1999 in his project “World View of Global Warming.” '


2017  We Are Nature: Living in the Anthropocene
Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Pittsburgh
'The Anthropocene is the current geological era in which humans are making a profound impact on the geological strata. Geologists are still debating the term, but here at the museum, we are embracing it as a social and cultural tool for exploring the broad sum effect humans are having on the environment.

To put it simply, people are changing the planet. We’ll be exploring the good, the bad, and the ugly truths of the Anthropocene for the next six months with the new exhibition We Are Nature: Living in the Anthropocene, which opens October 28 at the museum.'


2018  Michael Pinsky's Pollution domes
Somerset House, London

Five transparent interlinked domes; visitors enter a dome that contains the very pure air of Tautra, the peninsular on the coast of Norway where the project originated. From here they can walk through the installation to experience what the air is like in London, Beijing, São Paulo and New Dehli.



Annual and ongoing

The Climate Change Museum
New York
Director: Miranda Massie
Commentary –- a place for discussion. Artworks in public spaces.


Syngenta Photography Award Exhibition

“Rural-Urban: the exhibition” Somerset House, London

Submitted photograph categories: Urban Sprawl, Migration, Infrastructure, Greener Cities, Food Production and Deforestation (photography exhibition – all pieces related to the above themes)



Cape Farewell

David Buckland’s international cultural program, based at the Dana Center, Science Museum, London


2001 – ongoing

Smithsonian’s “Forces of Change” launched -