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a Consultancy for
Museums, Sites, Zoos,
Gardens, Aquariums, and
Science & Nature Centers

Sarah Sutton, LEED-AP
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Waialua, Oahu, Hawai'i

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Hill House"Sarah's work inspired our team to think about our historic sites in new and exciting ways — in particular as it relates to how sustainability can be integrated into site themes to deepen interpretation."
–Minnesota Historical Society,
James J. Hill House

Click below for more testimonials.

Gloves: Choices for Objects, People & the Planet
Got Collections? Click here to learn what to do with used gloves. The Sustainable Museums team worked with Claire S. Barker, author of “How to Select Gloves: An Overview for Collections Staff”, adding information on environmentally-responsible choices for glove use and disposal that support collections care needs.


When you work with Sustainable Museums you have access to a unique resource for examples within the field, and innovation outside it; and to the intellectual support to help you assess and strategize for institutional change.

We draw on current research and practice in resource conservation and efficiencies, alternative energy, public engagement, and climate resilience and adaptation to help you makes the best decisions possible. Where else would you go to:

  • identify other museums testing energy efficiency and collections care, or
  • to develop a strategic sustainability plan, or
  • search for funding, or
  • explore what changes in the law or local codes will affect your institution?

"Thank you, thank you, thank you for your grant support and "green" guidance all these years. You put us on this path and Dumbarton House has benefited so much from your support."
      – Karen Daly, Executive Director, Dumbarton House


Environmentally-sustainable behavior

  • is responsible museum management and critical community engagement
  • serves your mission by conserving resources, caring for your collections, and building engagement with your community
  • creates a more effective organization as you develop the skills to identify values and isolate the key activities to fulfill them
Sustainable Museums helps you think in an environmentally-sustainable manner as you fulfill your institution’s mission and support your community.


We translate sustainability language into museum language when you’re making decisions about capital investments, museum design, program directions, or investments. We make sure you ask the right questions and consider the important issues

  • We can be a liaison with outside contractors
  • We can help you use institutional values to sort through options and make the best choice
  • We can provide examples of other institutions making similar changes or decisions.

We work with you to create a sustainability plan and goals, and define the supporting practices. Formats vary, but the Association of Zoos and Aquarium’s new one is very effective and efficient.

Always consider sustainability when applying to NEH or IMLS for project support.  We prepare grant applications to IMLS for sustainability programming or practices, and to NEH for Sustaining Cultural Heritage Collections.

Introduce your staff and board to sustainable thinking with custom sessions. Sarah provides active, thought-provoking programs on-line or in-person, just for your institution or as a program you host.

Green Teams
Green team coaching helps you develop your green team and gradually green your institution. I will help you develop the team, set goals, and create and follow through on a work plan.

Share green by creating and adapting interpretative content to highlight your sustainability work or incorporates sustainability concepts into programs. 

“Little” things matter. At Dumbarton House the curator was concerned by how many nitrile gloves museum throw away. His concern led us to explore options for the field. Our Glove Choice Chart blends thoughtful choices for collections care and for the environment.


Detroit Zoological Society (MI)
Coaching for the Sustainability Manager, and advising the staff and GreenPrint Committee on the design and implementation and renewal of the zoo’s strategic plan for environmental sustainability. Current.

Minnesota Historical Society
Coaching on grant-design coach for the successful 2012 NEH “Sustaining Cultural Heritage Collections” application; serving on the planning team, 2013-2014, and on the implementation team, 2015-2017.   

Minnesota Historical Society
Researching comparable examples of environmental sustainability in tours, events, and programs, and providing coaching for three of the 26 historic site managers implementing sustainability messaging additions to current interpretation at the James J. Hill House, Mill City Museum, and Fort Snelling. Current.

Peoria Riverfront Museum (IL)
Working with staff to develop a multi-part green museum tour (labels, brochure, and Twitter feed) for the new museum, LEED Gold certified (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design).

Strawbery Banke Museum, Portsmouth, NH
I am part of an IMLS-funded team supporting designing the implementation of strategic planning initiatives. I am working with the staff and community to plan for a green future through interpretation, operations, and community connections. Current. 

Texas Tech University Museum, Lubbock
Assessing the museum’s potential for sustainable practices, and for incorporating environmental sustainability into the Museum Studies curriculum.