Our Museums


Protecting the environment and promoting sustainable living are paramount challenges facing global society. We are dedicated to leading by example, promoting sustainable practices and inspiring visitors and stakeholders to join us in safeguarding the environment for future generations.

Landscape image of fields, trees, clouds and Belfast Lough in the distance

Our Vision for Sustainable Development

National Museum's NI mission is to:

  • Develop, manage and care for our collections to benefit current and future generations.
  • Make our collections accessible to the widest possible audiences.
  • Play a leading role in the economic and social wellbeing and future of this place.
  • Build an organisation where people feel valued.

We believe our museums can set an example in adapting to change, encouraging debate, promoting reconciliation and supporting diversity and sustainability.


Our Trustees, the Chief Executive and the Senior Management Team are committed to reducing the impact of the organisation’s activities on the environment. The organisation will strive to improve its environmental performance in all areas of operation, reflecting our corporate strategy vision that our work contributes to climate change mitigation and biodiversity conservation. This is demonstrated through our Environmental Sustainability Policy.

Operating sustainably

We have committed to a 50% reduction in scope 1 (direct) and scope 2 (indirect) emissions by 2030. We are committed to working towards this goal and to demonstrate this commitment we have joined the BITC NI Climate Pledge and Pledge to Net Zero.

Sustainability Logos

A baseline of 2,004 tonnes CO2e was established for scope 1 and 2 emissions in 2018/19 and for 2021/22 this was 1,872 tonnes.

Emissions 2018/2019  (Tonnes CO2e)2021/2022  (Tonnes CO2e)
Scope 1 (Direct emissions – Heat, fuel)1,021.601,061.90
Scope 2 (Indirect emissions – Electricity)982.50810.1 

We will manage our waste in accordance with the waste hierarchy of prevention, reduction, reuse, recycling and disposal. We will ensure we comply with our legal duty of care as regards waste and transfer it to a registered waste collector for processing and treatment at an authorised waste management facility.

We are working towards achieving Green Tourism accreditation for all of our visitor sites. The Ulster Museum has recently been successful in acquiring a Bronze Award with the support of our partners in Belfast City Council and Visit Belfast

Green Tourism Bronze Logo, Belfast City Council Logo, Visit Belfast Logo

The Reawakening Project at the Ulster Folk Museum in Cultra will aim to new buildings designed and built to BREAAM excellent and Passiv Haus standards. 

The Reawakened Museum will provide a space to reconnect with nature and with the rhythms of the landscape in a time of environmental crisis. It will offer an alternative to fast fashion, fast food, and disposable living, and empower people to grow, create, and mend. It will offer a space to connect with the heritage we have in common, that what makes us diverse and what the future might hold.

Interior concept for a new visitor centre at the Ulster Folk Museum

A Sustainability Manager was appointed in December 2022 to take forward and develop a sustainability action plan and to integrate sustainability throughout the organisation. The Sustainability Manager will develop a sustainability framework and action plan aligned with the UN SDGs and informed by guidance and best practice from organisations such as Curating Tomorrow and the National Museum’s Director’s Council.

Sustainable Development Goals logo


Understanding Environmental Change

Our natural environment is in crisis globally, threatened by climate change, pollution and habitat destruction, resulting in biodiversity loss. We will seek to unlock the invaluable and irreplaceable information held in our Natural Sciences collections, to help advance understanding of environmental change and identify its potential mitigations.

Reconnecting with Nature

We're interested in how, through our collections, on-site wild places and environmental data sets, we can reconnect people with nature and encourage individual agency in recording, championing and protecting our natural world.



The Ulster Transport Museum tells the story of innovation and social change in this part of the world over the decades across land, sea and sky. Celtic Wave reinforces that connection to the sea by championing the local innovators and growing sub-community of surf enthusiasts through the range of objects that make up the exhibition while also driving home a sustainability mission with elements of the exhibition build made from recycled and sustainable materials where possible.

Celtic Wave Exhibition

We have signed up to the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan in 2022. The All-Ireland Pollinator Plan is a framework bringing together different sectors across the island of Ireland to create a landscape where pollinators can survive and thrive. It is implemented by the National Biodiversity Data Centre.

At the Ulster Folk and the Transport Museums at Cultra we are working toward the restoration/ establishment of meadows across the site by reducing the mowing regime through initiatives such as No Mow May

We are also working in partnership with the Woodland Trust to remove invasive Cherry Laurel and Rhododendron from the site at Cultra.

We have been working in partnership with The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) who have established two native tree nurseries on our site at Cultra.  TCV provide numerous opportunities to get involved in environmental activities at Cultra and the Ulster American Folk Park in Omagh.

Volunteers have always played an important part in National Museums NI. As an organisation, we benefit from the rich skills and experience that our volunteers have to offer. We are delighted that we are able to involve volunteers in a wide range of roles, offering people the opportunity to gain a unique insight to our museums. All of our current roles are advertised here on our website and on our social media pages.

Woodland Trust Logo, TCV Logo


We appointed a Sustainability Manager in December 2022 to develop and implement a sustainability framework aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This includes carbon audit, biodiversity and environmental management across the Museum’s operations.

An internal Sustainability working group working in partnership with the Sustainability Manger and Senior Management Team helps to inform and drive the agenda for decarbonisation and sustainability actions within the estate.

An internal energy management working group looks at energy data from utilities across the estate utilising state of the art Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) half hourly data. This proactive activity enables the Museum to get a good handle on where energy is being consumed through daily, weekly and monthly reporting and to take steps to improve energy efficiency measures where feasible and practical to do so.