DEN Project

Representations of Climate Change in Local Museum Collections

The aim of this MuBu project is to forge new connections between museum collections in the East Midlands, local communities and a wider audience. This will be done through an investigation into representations of climate change in the museum collections. Climate change is not a new phenomenon, and many of the region’s museums contain objects which can tell us about past weather and climates. The project runs for nine months between June 2010 and February 2011.

The focus for research is on local and amateur attempts to record, predict and understand weather and climate, and on personal responses and management strategies employed as a result of climatic change and the occurrence of extreme weather events. My initial aim is to ‘map’ objects of interest, and to explore their potential in forging new links between communities and museums, as well as considering what they can tell us about past climates at both the regional and global scales.

Sources of value may be difficult to identify as their climatic value may have been catalogued as being of only secondary importance at best. Objects might include:

  • Thermometers, barometers, sunshine recorders, rain gauges and other equipment used to record the weather, either produced or used in the East Midlands
  • Weather maps and forecasts
  • Temperature, rainfall, wind, snow, air pressure and sunshine records
  • Writings on meteorology and weather lore
  • Diaries recording the weather and the timing of weather dependent events (phenology)
  • Photographs, drawings and postcards depicting extreme weather events
  • Historic maps (showing the changing course of rivers for example)
  • Natural history collections (showing the changing distribution, habits and appearance of animals, birds and insects as a result of changing climates)
  • Topographical art
  • Archaeological material

If you think you could help in identifying collections in the region which are linked to the theme of climate change, or have any other suggestions for the project, please contact me by leaving a post on my project blog or twitter page, or by emailing