Green Museums Initiative 

The Green Museums Initiative Committee (GMI) was established by the California Association of Museums (CAM) Board of Directors in 2006. Its mission was to inspire California museums to develop green business practices, eco-friendly facility management, and sustainable programming. In 2020, GMI was absorbed into CAM's new Strategic Action Committee, which is carrying out many of the initiative's previous projects. 

Sustainability at the Annual Conference and CAM Events

With the support and guidance of GMI, CAM makes the following efforts to ensure the annual conference and other events are environmentally-friendly:

  • Vegetarian meals served at the conference hotel, unless attendee requested otherwise
  • Tote bags are reusable and made of organic cotton
  • Registration lanyards made from post-consumer recycled plastic
  • Volunteer t-shirts made of organic cotton
  • Badge holder made of 100% compostable material
  • Banners printed on biodegradable and recyclable material using non-toxic latex inks, donated by Wilson Cetina Group
  • Event tickets and agendas printed on 100% recycled, post-consumer waste, and chlorine-free paper by a Certified B Corporation certified by Forest Stewardship Council and which offsets their carbon footprint by purchasing Renewable Energy Credits
  • Smaller sized program, using 40% less paper than other conference publications
  • Carbon offset donations made possible during the registration process to help reduce and offset our climate impacts (donations made to
  • Hotel catering follows GMI’s sustainable catering guidelines, which minimizes waste and requires locally, organic, and sustainably grown and raised food
  • Conference hotel is a polystyrene foam-free environment, provides recycling bins for paper, recycles plastic and glass, and offers leftover and excess food items to local food banks and shelters
  • CAMMY Award and other gifts hand cast from post-consumer recycled glass
  • Superintendent’s Awards made of 100% naturally grown bamboo

Think about the small steps you can take at your institution to make your events more green.

Annual Green Museums Seminar

The Annual Green Museums Seminar features case studies and panel discussions on programmatic and operational initiatives that museums are leading to help address climate change, energy conservation, and other environmental concerns, organized by members of the Strategic Action Committee. The event typically coincides with the Secretary's Award for Excellence in Sustainability ceremony. 

The 2021 Virtual Green Museums Seminar was held on September 30th.

Annual Secretary's Award for Excellence in Sustainability

The Secretary’s Award for Excellence in Sustainability award program was established in 2018, recognizing outstanding achievements in sustainability by California museums in the areas of public education and internal operations. The competition is the joint project of CAM and the California Natural Resources Agency. Members of the Strategic Action Committee accept and review applications and nominations, and the California Natural Resources Agency approves the projects recommended by the committee. Winning projects are presented with the award at the Annual Secretary's Award Ceremony and Green Museums Seminar.

Share your green operations or programs with CAM and win the award.

We Are Still In and the Green Museums Accord

The Green Museums Accord was one of GMI's first activities and served as inspiration to American Alliance of Museums’ (AAM) professional network on environmental sustainability, PIC Green, in its formative years (now Environment and Climate Network). In 2013, CAM and AAM teamed up to take the Green Museums Accord to the national level and encourage even greater participation in the effort to make museums and communities “green”! The Green Museums Accord was an institution-wide pledge to be environmentally responsible. See the latest list of Green Museums Accord signers as of 2018.

In 2019, GMI made the decision to transition from the Green Museums Accord to sign on to We Are Still In and encourage CAM members to do the same. The We Are Still In declaration is a promise that Americans would not retreat from the global pact to reduce emissions and stem the causes of climate change.

Sign the We Are Still In declaration to show your museum's commitment to fighting the climate crisis.

Sustainable Sessions at the CAM Conference

Strategic Action Committee members work hard each year to organize conference sessions, case studies, and roundtable discussions related to sustainability, climate action, and natural disaster recovery. Examples of topics presented include:

  • Greening Exhibit Practices
  • Cultural Responses to Disaster: The Inspiration of Puerto Rico
  • We Are Still In: Climate Change, Sustainability and Museums
  • Listening for Common Ground ("Engaged Listening")
  • Museums Leading the Way in Building an Earthquake Resilient California

Look for the GMI logo in the conference program.