The High Museum of Art is dedicated to the collection, interpretation, and preservation of art for present and future generations. But our mission is based on the assumption that there will be future generations to enjoy our art. That’s why we have a responsibility to care for our planet as much as we care for our collection. This means reducing our carbon footprint through more sustainable practices—and raising awareness about the climate crisis with our visitors. Most importantly, it means collaboration. If you have questions about our sustainability programs or are interested in collaborating with us to make positive change, please contact us.
Digital Membership Cards
In 2020, the Museum enacted a digital membership card program. Since then, we have served eighty thousand members with digital cards, reducing plastic waste, paper waste (in the form of letters and envelopes), and fossil fuel consumption (in the form of transporting mail).
We offer mixed-stream recycling outside on the Carroll Slater Sifly Piazza, in the Taylor Lobby, and throughout the administrative buildings to make it easier for visitors and employees to recycle without having to sort. We also give a second life to any packing materials that make their way into the Museum. By reusing packing materials, the Museum never purchases bubble wrap or other single-use plastics to ship shop items or member gifts.
The Museum’s member magazine is printed on a portion of post-consumer recycled paper using sustainable UV dyes. We also launched a digital member magazine in 2020, and allow members to opt out of all paper communications.
A Focus on Plastic
We are currently exploring ways to reduce or eliminate our consumption of single-use plastic. During 2022’s Highball, we worked with Compost Now to successfully compost more than seven thousand plant-based PLA corn cups. This was a first step, but we are continuing to investigate strategies to reduce our plastic footprint.
Installed in 2004 atop the Frances Bunzl Center, the Museum’s 6,680-square-foot vegetated green roof helps clean and reduce stormwater runoff, reduce the urban-heat-island effect, reduce energy consumption, extend the roof life, and improve air quality. Our green roof is also able to retain about 62,000 gallons of stormwater.
In 2012, the Museum replaced all the gallery lighting in the Stent Family Wing with LED bulbs. Not only does this save energy, but it’s also better for our collection as LED produces less heat. We are currently working to secure funding to replace all the outdoor lighting on the Piazza and the gallery lighting in the Wieland Pavilion and the Anne Cox Chambers Wing.
The Museum has a responsibility to help people understand how they can contribute to a healthy planet and a sustainable future. We weave sustainability and conservation into our educational programming whenever possible. As a rule, our STEAM curriculum always includes content that focuses on the interdependent nature of our world and the impacts we make on each other and our planet.
In 2022, we joined Ki Futures, a global network of cultural institutions working together to support each other in our efforts to become more sustainable. We are working to overcome our common challenges through regular programming that includes trainings, workshops, and opportunities to share our experiences.
Sustainable development goes beyond reducing your carbon emissions. Because we understand that you can’t make sustainable choices if you lack information, resources, or access, we aim to reduce inequality where we can through a number of programs that increase access to the Museum’s resources and support the health and well-being of our visitors, staff, and volunteers.
For decades, the Museum has made an effort to collect and present work by artists who represent our diverse community. We also strive to ensure our workforce is reflective of our audience. We began reporting on our progress in diversifying our collection and staff in 2020. Visit our Art + Inclusion report for more information.
In FY 2021, the Museum reappraised and addressed the notion of a livable wage for its employees. All Museum employees now make either a minimum of $15/hour as nonexempt staff or $40,000/year as exempt staff.
- For Visitors: Through generous support from UPS and the Lettie Pate Evans Foundation, on the second Sunday of every month, the Museum opens its doors to all visitors for free for UPS Second Sundays.
- For Students: The Art Access Program, generously supported by the Kendeda Fund and many individual donors, is designed to remove the economic barriers that typically prevent Title I school students from visiting the Museum. Art Access provides Georgia schools with transportation reimbursement and free admission for students and chaperones.
- For Web Users: In 2018, we committed to making our website accessible to all users, including those dependent on assistive technologies. We are currently working on a new WCAG 2.1 AA-compliant website scheduled to launch by 2023. For more information on all of our accessibility programs, please visit high.org/access.