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Museum Materials Pledge

The Museum Exhibition Materials Pledge is an invitation to museums and museum exhibition designers to start a conversation about the definition of sustainability. Much of the language from the letter comes from 2019 A&D Materials Pledge supported by the American Institute of Architects (AIA). Its intent is that defining “sustainability” for you and for your institution will lead to more specific actions. Many of the strategies are also integrated into the USGBC LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) categories: Materials & Resources, Indoor Environmental Quality, Energy & Atmosphere. 


Signing the Museum Materials Pledge is your opportunity to make a public statement that you are committed to making more informed choices and to engaging in an ongoing dialogue with manufacturers to help them improve the transparency and the sustainability of their products.


The Museum Exhibition Materials Pledge authors thank the American Institute of Architects, the U.S. Green Building Council, and the International Living Future Institute for their leadership on these issues.

The Museum Materials Pledge Webinar

Watch the recording of the October 2023 webinar discussion on the Museum Exhibition Materials Pledge. Panelists discussed their museums' successes and challenges and their ideas on how to move the field forward. They shared the toolkit to assist in selecting sustainable materials for museum exhibitions and discussed how we can improve this living document.

Sustainable Exhibition Design + Construction Toolkit V1.0

 In exhibit design work, the authors of this toolkit noticed that museums and museum exhibit designers were not always keeping up with the latest advances in sustainable design seen in architecture and commercial interior design. The Sustainable Exhibition Design & Construction Toolkit was built to support your journey to making more 'mindful' materials decisions.


Museum Exhibition Materials Pledge

To interior finish, exhibit materials, and graphic substrate manufacturers,


As members of the museum exhibition community, and inspired by the AIA (American Institute of Architects) Materials Pledge of 2019 and the Lighting Advocacy Letter of 2021, we unite as museum exhibition designers, fabricators, and installers to ask manufacturers to continue to raise their standards of transparency while providing long-lasting, high-quality materials that positively impact all people.


As museum exhibit designers, fabricators, and installers, we join with our colleagues who have signed the 2019 AIA Materials Pledge, and we also pledge to:

  • Support human health by preferring products that support and foster life throughout their life-cycles and seek to eliminate the use of hazardous substances.

  • Support social health & equity by preferring products from manufacturers that secure human rights in their own operations and in their supply chains, positively impacting their workers and the communities where they operate.

  • Support ecosystem health by preferring products that support and regenerate the natural air, water, and biological cycles of life through thoughtful supply chain management and restorative company practices.

  • Support climate health by preferring products that reduce carbon emissions and ultimately sequester more carbon than emitted.

  • Support a circular economy by reusing and improving buildings and by designing for resiliency, adaptability, disassembly, and reuse, aspiring to a zero-waste goal for global construction activities.


To address these concerns and to meet our goals of transforming the industry, we commit to continuously updating our design libraries and specifications. We commit to sharing best practices, educational resources, and preferred products with our museum exhibition community. We further commit to giving priority to products and manufacturers with a commitment to:

  • Provide publicly available material ingredient disclosure information.

  • Provide publicly available environmental impact disclosure information.

  • Provide publicly available Design for Freedom supplier questionnaires or similar supply chain disclosure information.

  • Not stop at material transparency but strive for optimization.


To achieve this goal, we must work together as museum leadership, museum boards, exhibit directors, curators, exhibit designers, graphic designers, lighting designers, audiovisual designers, audiovisual specifiers and installers, building product manufacturers, graphic print houses, exhibit fabricators and exhibit installers to build awareness, share knowledge, drive demand, and deliver solutions. We ask you, as responsible product manufacturers, for your commitment to work towards market transformation in the museum exhibition world. To accelerate this mission and to leverage cross-industry insight and expertise, we seek your partnership in advancing this conversation at upcoming industry annual meetings, conferences and trade shows.


We value our relationship with each of you and we understand that the change we seek will not be accomplished overnight. Please join us in continued dialogue and collaboration as we learn from each other and improve the best practices of museum exhibitions.



Museum Exhibition Materials Pledge Signatories


Sign the Pledge

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