When the staffs of museums and cultural facilities consider their
part in the "green" movement, their collections preclude them from
cutting back on things like light usage and temperature levels.
Doing so is disastrous for a facility charged with safekeeping
fine art or historical items because fluctuations in temperature,
humidity and light can mean ruined artifacts.
But that doesn't mean that Oklahoma's museums aren't finding ways
to be eco-friendly.
"Seldom is (being green) one big thing that happens. It's many
other efforts combined," said Dan Provo, director of the Oklahoma
Museum of History at the Oklahoma History Center. "I think we should
be doing those things as part of being a responsible member of the
The Oklahoma Museums Association has begun conversations with ECO
- Encouraging Conservation in Oklahoma - about how to make the
state's cultural facilities greener. ECO is a partnership between
the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department and the Oklahoma
Department of Environmental Quality. Brenda Granger, executive
director of the Oklahoma Museums Association, said the effort will
take some time, but it will pay off in many ways, including
advertising dollars targeting travelers looking for "green"
facilities. Last year in Oklahoma, green sites benefited from
$61,000 in advertising, she said.
Oklahoma's museums have already started their ecological efforts.
The Philbrook Museum in Tulsa planted a community garden to donate
food, and Science Museum Oklahoma overhauled its cafe to offer
healthier local food. The new Chickasaw Cultural Center in Sulphur
has become a Murray County leader in recycling, and the facility
also grows food used in its cafe.
At the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, its recent Art on Tap was
nearly a zero-waste event. In addition to recycling traditional
items like glass and cardboard, the museum used compostable plates,
forks and napkins, and even sent away scraps of food for composting.
Whitney Cross, associate development officer for the museum, said
she began thinking about the approach after cleaning up too much
trash after last year's Art on Tap. This year, she connected with
ECO and DEQ for help.
"They didn't push us to do too much; every little bit makes a
difference," she said. "But we decided to go for it."
The museum also nixed printing banners to thank sponsors, instead
using electronic signs it already has, Cross said. She said they
also bought 40 trash cans and created labels for composting and
recycling, and they plan to use them for future events. …