Combine a numbing issue like climate change with Instagram-era engagement, and you get the Museum of Tomorrow. The brainchild of Jessica Ho, M.D.P. ’19, this traveling pop-up views a potentially depressing topic as a way to prompt positive behavior choices, one selfie at a time.
“Climate change is portrayed a lot as gloom and doom,” says Ho. “I want to change that.”
Inspired by discussions in a Sustainability and Society class — and encouraged by the popularity of photo-oriented attractions like the Museum of Ice Cream — Ho and four fellow Master of Development Practice candidates, along with colleagues in business and engineering, set out to conceive engaging exhibits that conveyed a serious message.
The capital to create the prototype pop-up came from a Kickstarter fundraising campaign, a third-place finish in the Art and Social Change category of Berkeley’s Big Ideas student competition, and an Ignite Grant from the Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation.
During the Museum of Tomorrow’s weeklong debut in April, visitors could don virtual reality headsets for a gamified immersion in ocean acidification, bob in a pool with hundreds of plastic bottles in search of matching jellyfish, or see the environmental impact of food and fashion decisions. They could also win a reusable beverage container or commit to reducing their individual impact.
“The most urgent need right now is to educate people my age,” says Ho. “Even if they might not care about climate change, they all want to take pictures at a public museum.”
The Promise of Berkeley, May 2019