Free guide: How can museums support the Sustainable Development Goals?

I’m very happy to announce a guide I’ve put together for museums, galleries, the cultural sector and their partners on the Sustainable Development Goals. These are the most ambitious programme ever, seeking to put the world on a path to a sustainable future by 2030. Museums have a key role to play in this. The guide is intended to help empower museums (small, large and of any kind, anywhere), museum workers, museum networks and their partners to contribute to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs for short). I’ve tried to make it very, very easy for museums to understand their place in the SDGs, and how they can take them up in their work.

You can download the guide here:

This Guide is provided free, to help support take-up, but that does not mean it was free to produce. You can show your appreciation, and support the work of Curating Tomorrow by making a donation, whatever sum you like. Currently, less than 1% of people make a donation. All donations are gratefully received (thanks).

The SDGs are not just for governments: they are an invitation to all sectors of society, in all places, to collaborate and participate in the achievement of the 2030 Agenda.

The guide sets out the amazing vision of the SDGs, explains the SDG agenda (also called Agenda 2030), and sets out how the SDGs need museums and museums need the SDGs.

The SDG agenda can be summarised as being made up of ‘five Ps’: People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace and Partnership. The first three relate to the three dimensions of sustainability (social, environmental, economic), while peace and partnership enable and support the pursuit of sustainability:
People: to end poverty and hunger, in all their forms and dimensions, and to ensure that all human beings can fulfil their potential in dignity and equality and in a healthy environment.

Planet: to protect the planet from degradation, including through sustainable consumption and production, sustainably managing its natural resources and taking urgent action on climate change, so that it can support the needs of the present and future generations.

Prosperity: to ensure that all human beings can enjoy prosperous and fulfilling lives and that economic, social, and technological progress occurs in harmony with nature.

Peace: to foster peaceful, just and inclusive societies which are free from fear and violence. There can be no sustainable development without peace and no peace without sustainable development.

Partnership: to mobilise the means required to implement the 2030 Agenda through a revitalised Global Partnership for Sustainable Development, based on a spirit of strengthened global solidarity, focused in particular on the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable and with the participation of all countries, all stakeholders and all people.

The guide outlines a six-step plan for museums to plan activity to support the SDGs, and outlines seven key activities that align with the SDGs, mapping these against the 17 Goals and 169 targets. These are how I think museums can contribute most effectively to the SDGs. The six-step plan and seven key activities are scalable, so apply to individual museum workers (in different roles), to museums, role types, museum networks and the overall sector.

The intention of the guide is to help museums get started with the SDGs.If anyone wants to explore tailor-made workshops or planning for their museum or network, please contact me on to discuss this.

Published by Henry McGhie

I have set up Curating Tomorrow as a new business. I know that lots of people, organisations and networks care about the communities they are based in, broader social issues and the natural environment. Curating Tomorrow takes museum-based skills of curating, and applies them to the wider world. It is about helping people and organisations move farther, faster, together to build a better world.

Join the Conversation


  1. Hello, I am the director of Panama city Museum. I consider being really important for societies to incorporate and promote these goals to reach sustainability in our countries. Our museum is an open museum, with multiples exhibitions around the city. At the core of every project is at least one of the SDGs. For example, in May we have inaugurated one exhibition about the history of Panama´s urbanism, and we are working with SDG 4,6,8,9, 10, 11, 13, 14, 15. I was happy to read your post and see that we are not the only ones. If you want to know more about our project, please enter the following link


    1. Hi I hope you are going on well with your work. I’ve done another couple of guides linked to the SDGs, one on disaster risk reduction and museums, and another on human rights. I’d be interested to hear how your work is going. All the best Henry


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