Testaments from the Age of Humans

Barker Langham


( Concept )

Humans are storytelling animals. Ever since we first began to communicate, we have spun tales to help us understand ourselves and the world around us. Today, museums are the crafters, keepers and tellers of our societies’ stories. Museums speak to a vast audience across the globe and hold a special place in the public trust.

Yet museums work in isolation: dividing knowledge into categories, segmenting visitors and communicating fragmented stories. In this context, climate stories are siloed and their impact is lost.

We propose a global union of museum workers and institutions, organised on behalf of the planet. This network will harness the energy, skills and knowledge of the profession to gather evidence of human impact on the environment, lobby for change regionally, nationally and internationally and, together, tell a shared story of impact, challenge and hope.

To galvanise the network, we propose two initiatives which will bring climate action into focus across the sector and provide a framework for collecting and telling climate stories within and beyond our museums.

Testaments from the Age of Humans concept drawings

Exhibit A

A curated global platform that aggregates and houses content based on stories provided by museum professionals;

A multimedia testament of our collections and our planet written and archived by the planet’s storytellers;

Collectively, the network will build a resounding body of evidence documenting the Earth in the Anthropocene: stories of destruction and hope; opportunities for change embraced and spurned;

We don’t know how our story will end but this evolving gazetteer could be ‘Exhibit A’ in a great trial to come; the inquest future generations will stage to understand what we have done to our planet.

The Climate Label

A shared interpretive toolkit for re-interpreting and documenting museum collections and staging interventions in public spaces;

Allows museum professionals to interpret any part of their collections or institutions through a climate lens: every story can become a climate story and every museum can become a climate museum;

A flexible and free to use template, with distinctive universal branding, that can be used by any museum.

The network and the tools proposed represent an ambitious yet achievable concept that will allow museums to fulfil their potential, and their duty, as storytellers in the age of humans.

You can watch a video on the concept here:

Project Team
Barker Langham
Project Name
Testaments from the Age of Humans
Team Location
Arts, curatorial & creative practice