This is the second of the V& A ThinkTanks. We're extremely grateful to our partners in this, particularly the RIBA. It's very good of you to come here today. Just before I introduce you, Chris [Rapley], if you don't mind, I thought I would just try and say a couple of things about museums and climate change.
I've been working in museums for a long time, and in the whole time that I've worked in museums, they have been overwhelmingly committed to taking a green view of life, and over that time they have made no progress whatever in giving reality to that. Actually, what we've seen over the period in which I've worked in museums is that every display is more energy consumptive than the one which it replaces, and that almost every new building is specified to achieve environmental conditions, which can on the whole only be achieved by the introduction of elaborate M& E.
And it's not only museums that are guilty in this, the conservation world has laid down standards, which people think it behoves them to achieve. The HLF insists as a condition of grant on the achievement of standards like PS5454. But I do think that substituting the recycling of paper for serious thought about the core function of museums has really not been good enough, and what I hope this ThinkTank will do is to help us begin to do what I would say we have begun to do at the V& A, which is to challenge these assumptions, and to refuse to meet the standards that have traditionally been called for; to understand the building in much more - and its behaviour - in a much more sophisticated way than has been the case in the past. To notice that very often those three conditions basically in practice function much less well than less closely conditioned spaces.
To think much more seriously about the real degrees of risk, posed to objects by the different kinds of environment, to think more seriously about the history of objects, and what that tells us about their capacity to survive.
To think about whether we need to ask our visitors to put on overcoats when it's cold rather than heating up cold museums to keep them warm. And these, all these kinds of issues, are the ones which I think can help the museum world to move from where it still is today, which is that every new building, which comes on stream is more energy consumptive than the one that it replaces, to one in which we can, as it were, hold up our heads, and at least say that our behaviour is comparable to or better than those of other sectors. So this is my hope and wish for today.
And now I'd now like to introduce Chris Rapley, Director of the Science Museum, who knows much more about climate change than I do.
GALLERY TALK: From functional tablewares masquerading as fruit or vegetables to imitations of prized materials, potters have always created objects intended to delight and surprise by deceiving the eye.