Sarah Suttongrants work
green work
my books
a Consultancy for
Museums, Sites, Zoos,
Gardens, Aquariums, and
Science & Nature Centers

Sarah Sutton, LEED-AP
send email

Waialua, Oahu, Hawai'i

Sustainable Museums Blog
Twitter feed
testimonialsFeature in my local newspaper

About Sarah blog twitter

Making good green choices is important, hopefully exciting, and certainly complex. Few of us were trained to process this enormous change.

Sustainable Museums helps board and staff members at zoos, gardens, aquariums, museums, and historic sites make strategic plans, set goals, and pursue thoughtful project and program choices.

We consult on environmental sustainability in organizational practice and public engagement. We also conduct grant funding searches and prepare grant proposals. It is a great day in the Sustainable Museums office when we prepare a proposal to fund good green work.

Click here to read what some of my clients report about the process of working with me.

We work with all types of learning institutions to turn green goals and conundrums into positive experiences. For example,   

  • For leadership, facilitating discussion on the role of green work at the institution and in public engagement
  • For zoos and aquariums, creating strategic sustainability plans for AZA accreditation
  • For collecting institutions, exploring energy efficient approaches to improving collections care and as part of disaster planning
  • For historic sites staff, incorporating environmental sustainability into interpretation
  • For a variety of institutions,
    • preparing interpretive materials for green building tours, public programs, and promotional pieces
    • pursuing grants for buildings, collections projects, and programming
    • training staff and leadership on grants and/or environmental sustainability

I hope we can work together. My books and articles can help us get started. See Publications for ideas and encouragement.

You are on an important, worthwhile path to making your museum relevant to your community, and to changing the world for the better. Thank you.
    the sustainable museums team

John MayerJohn Mayer, Investigator and Museum Specialist
John joined the Sustainable Museums team in October 2014. John is the part-time executive director of the Amesbury Carriage Museum and serves as an advisor to the group. He has expertise in non-profit administration, exhibit development, curatorial routines, care of artifact collections, and preservation of historic structures. His work for Sustainable Museums focuses on preservation practice and the museum environment.

He is a graduate of the Hagley Program at the University of Delaware and has a Master’s Degree in History and a Certificate in Museum Studies plus a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts from the California College of Arts and Crafts. He has served as museum curator at Maine Historical Society, curator at Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth, NH, and director and curator of the Manchester (NH) Historic Association. He is an AAM Museum Assessment Program (MAP) reviewer (since 1986).

Denise MixDenise Mix, Administrative Assistant
Denise holds a degree in museum studies and has worked at the National Museum of Natural History in DC and at the Wilson Museum on the coast on Maine. She spent a short time living abroad in Cameroon, a year in Belize, and now lives in New York’s Capital District area with her husband where they write and publish books while raising their five-year-old daughter.

As a part of the Sustainable Museums team, Denise provides administrative and technical support. She joined the Sustainable Museums team in October 2014.

Leslie TomLeslie Tom, Architectural Designer and
Museum Sustainability 2.0 Specialist

Leslie joined the Sustainable Museums team in February 2017. Leslie is a Detroit Revitalization Fellow, serving as the Chief Sustainability Officer at a museum. Originally from Tucson, Arizona, Leslie earned a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Arizona and a master’s in Information Management Systems from the Information School at UC Berkley focusing on museums, libraries and archives and behavior change. Her work for Sustainable Museums focuses on energy use, building information modeling, data management, and new technologies.

Leslie won a number of awards with the AIA, including an AIA Committee on Design's Knowledge Scholarship in Japan in 2011 and was the AIA Associate Director for all the intern architects in the state of Arizona. Leslie has worked closely as an Innovation City Corps ambassador with the San Francisco Mayor's Office of Civic Innovation, Gehl Architects, and the SF Planning Department to add urban prototypes for Market Street. Some of her past clients and contributors include the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Center for Asian American Media, Foursquare, The Tucson Chinese Cultural Center, WikiStrategies and the Re:Imagine Group, to name a few. She worked as a software designer for, a data-driven software for architects, engineers and real estate developers. She intends for her work to interpret issues of sustainability, energy, husbandry and organizational change in her professions. She is equipped with tools to address --organization, prioritization, and strategic thinking. She works best in collaborative environments at the intersection of design, engineering and communities.

    let's work together

I work remotely and on-site depending upon your needs. Sometimes I work with my team depending upon the project needs.

For the Minnesota Historical Society I conducted research offsite, but met at headquarters with interpretative staff for a workshop on incorporating environmental sustainability into interpretation.   

For a large site, we have a retainer arrangement for improving environmental sustainability site-wide. The contract allows for a three visits a year, and then calls, and video conferencing the rest of the time.

For a brand-new museum we worked remotely, using data from the architects, to prepare the text and choose design and placement for panels interpreting the green aspects of the LEED Gold building.

Are you

  • about to begin a building project
  • trying to fund a new project or program
  • interested in operating your existing building more efficiently
  • interested in becoming more involved with the local food movement
  • interested in engaging the public in discussions about urban resiliency
  • interested in a public event that instigates discussions about resilience to encourage good design in public safety projects?

Then Sustainable Museums can help. We will design the work plan and schedule with you, and develop a retainer, not-to-exceed fee, or hourly rate cost structure, depending upon the work desired. 

You can reach me at or 978-505-4515.
    my background

Education & Training

  • Antioch University, New England. Environmental Communication certificate
  • USGBC: LEED Accredited Professional
  • M.A., history from the College of William & Mary
  • Certificate, history administration, The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

Early Museum Experience

  • Interpretation:  Genesee Country Museum (NY), and Georgetown Historical Society (CO), The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation (VA)
  • Membership, Administration, and Fundraising: The Valentine Museum (VA), The Concord Museum (MA), and the Lexington Historical Society (MA) 

I began consulting 20 years ago. I work with institutions and speak at conferences and workshops all over the country and occasionally abroad.

For the Field

  • Founding member, past co-chair, PIC Green, AAM’s professional network on environmental sustainability
  • Past President, American Alliance of Museum Volunteers
  • Past Chair, of the AAM Council of Affiliates

Green Practices @ Sustainable Museums

  • Purchase  carbon offsets for travel
  • Skype or call into meetings when possible instead of flying or driving
  • Work at a locally-made, sustainably-sourced stand-up desk
  • Unplug and power-down equipment constantly
  • Always use both sides of my paper
  • Recycle anything that possibly can be
  • Choose the highest-available recycled-content materials
I constantly work to reduce my negative impact on the environment personally and professionally, but am a work in progress. Your institution probably is, too; let’s work together.