Roots and Branches

Roots & Branches is a collaboration between The Carbon Literacy Project, Museum Development England and Manchester Museum, supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. It aims to train and certify 1,500 people from 300 museums as Carbon Literate over the next two years and give an opportunity for museums to converse, experiment, and test new ideas for a more sustainable future.

Project background

Roots & Branches is an ambitious, environmentally-driven partnership project between Manchester Museum, Museum Development North West and The Carbon Literacy Project.

Manchester Museum will host the ’Roots’, creating a nationally significant co-working hub of cultural environmental action that will bring together museums, educators, environmentalists, artists, researchers, third sector organisations and students. This is being coordinated by an innovative new post, Environmental Action Manager, shared between Manchester Museum and The Carbon Literacy Project.

The ‘Branches’ of the project will create an environmentally aware and active sector, giving museums the tools to respond to Let’s Create, Art Council England’s 10-year strategy in which environmental responsibility is at the core. Over the next two years, this project will enable Museum Development England to scale up the roll-out of Carbon Literacy training across museums in England. A new online Carbon Literacy for Museums Toolkit is now available and free to access by all museums in the UK.

The launch of Roots & Branches coincided with the COP26 United Nations Climate Change Conference in November 2021 when The Carbon Literacy Project saw the most people Carbon Literacy trained on that day than ever before.

From 9th August to 12th November 2021, on the run up to and during COP26, a social media campaign ran for all museums to join in with, showcasing how the museum sector is responding to the climate crisis. The #MuseumCarbonStories campaign had a schedule of weekly themes linked to environmental sustainability that participating museums respond to over the 14 weeks. To see some highlights of the campaign, visit:

What is the Carbon Literacy for Museums Toolkit?

Carbon Literacy training is a tried and tested model of delivery that gives delegates a deeper understanding of the climate crisis and how they, as individuals and workers, can accelerate their action to respond to the climate crisis.

The Carbon Literacy for Museums Toolkit has been designed with museum staff and volunteers in mind, and will empower all museum workers to enact significant, achievable change within their workplace to reduce carbon emissions, and to use their platforms to positively influence their audiences and communities.

The Toolkit contains a day’s worth of learning and action planning, and has been co-created, reviewed, and piloted alongside a panel of museums and organisations in the sector, ensuring it is a practical and relevant resource to support your museum’s environmental responsibility goals. It consists of a Slide Deck; a comprehensive Trainer Manual; activity resources; a ‘Getting Started’ pack; a pre-recorded video to support delivery; and a post-training resource document for learners. The Toolkit has the flexibility to be adapted for your local area, using local environmental data and case studies.

The Toolkit will be adapted for a face-to-face delivery model in Spring 2022 of the project. Museum Development teams across England will also deliver regional training courses for Accredited non-National museums with the support of a new Museum Carbon Literacy Officer post.

How do I find out more about the Toolkit?

The Toolkit is now available to all museums in the UK for free** via The Carbon Literacy Project. To find out more about the Toolkit, what it contains and for sector testimonials, head over to the Museums pages of The Carbon Literacy Project’s website:

How can I access the Toolkit and training?

For people working and volunteering in Accredited non-national museums in England, including freelancers, there will be opportunities to attend free Carbon Literacy* courses delivered by your regional Museum Development provider. There will also be additional support to help you roll out the training in your own organisation through Train the Trainer workshops delivered by the Museum Carbon Literacy Officer at Museum Development North West.

Information about your local Museum Development Provider can be found here:

All museums in the UK will be able to access the Toolkit for free** from the 24th January via The Carbon Literacy Project website. You can use the content to schedule and run your own training sessions for your workforce. For more information and to access the Toolkit, visit:

* Carbon Literacy is an adaptable framework for a day’s worth of practical training on how to best contribute to tackling the climate crisis.

**Learner certification fees apply, generally £10 per learner. The training materials are free to use by museums and their approved training providers for the purposes of certified Carbon Literacy training. Museum Development teams may cover the cost of delegate certification of courses they run. Check with your provider.