1st Edition

Cultivating Futures Thinking in Museums

Edited By Kristin Alford Copyright 2025
    208 Pages
    by Routledge

    208 Pages
    by Routledge

    Cultivating Futures Thinking in Museums provides examples of the active and diverse roles that museums are taking  to expand futures thinking in communities, including developing capabilities to envision and enact more prosperous, equitable and sustainable futures.

    Presenting 21 examples that demonstrate how museums are cultivating futures capabilities in diverse global contexts, the volume acknowledges innovative practice, builds a foundation for growing futures work in the museum sector and inspires others in the field to adopt futures frameworks in their practices. This realm of thinking, including components of  anticipating futures by exploring drivers of change; imagining  immersive experiences of futures; creating tools and methods to enable futures capability; and participatory futures informing museum design practice provides important repsonses to the multitude of complex contemporary problems like climate change, technological development, and social inequity. The book prompts museums to think about their role in shaping alternative and novel narratives for our future.

    Cultivating Futures Thinking in Museums will primarily appeal to museum professionals, inspiring and informing them to adopt practices to further futures literacies. It will also appeal to academics, researchers, and students with an interest in museums, futures, design, contemporary art, curating and cultural studies.


    List of contributors (authors)  

    List of contributors (museums)          


    List of acronyms and abbreviations




    1.1 Building community capabilities in futures thinking         

    1.2 Reviewing approaches to community futures     

    1.3 Museums as conduits for community futures literacy     




    Approach 1: Tools and methods to enable Futures Thinking           


    2.1 Designing with the brain in mind: Implementing neuroscience-based design principles        

    2.2 Exploring Futurium’s Futures Boxes: A tool for promoting Futures Literacies among students         

    2.3 Touring the Future of Mobility: How Futures Literacy can shape a museum experience     

    2.4 Feeling Uncertain: Immersion and interactivity in future-facing museum exhibits           


    Approach 2: Participatory futures informing museum design practice         


    2.5 Planning for The Ubuntu Lab: Building capacity of people to better understand people

    2.6 Interview: Remembering the past to create the future at District Six Museum  

    2.7 SUR-FIcciones: Science fiction as a methodology for possible futures in the Global South  

    2.8 Futures forged by children: Fostering STEM identity at The DoSeum   

    2.9 Designing MOD. to enable young people to think about futures


    Approach 3: Anticipating futures by exploring and responding to drivers of change           


    2.10 Engaging with futures at the Museum of Tomorrow in Rio de Janeiro 

    2.11 Designing the Exhibition at Futurium: Translating futures thinking into an exhibition context       

    2.12 Interview: Community engagement to imagine futures at The Mind Museum 

    2.13 Climate, sustainability and resilience in action: A case study from the Anchorage Museum         

    2.14 Someday, all this: The Climate Museum Pop-up in Manhattan

    2.15 Interview: Futures-orientation for improved decision-making with MIDE         

    2.16 How to make visions of the future accessible? The Deutsches Museum Nuremberg     


    Approach 4: Imagining immersive experiences of futures    


    2.17 Future narratives in screen culture        

    2.18 Journey of the Pioneers at Museum of the Future in Dubai     

    2.19 Plausible immersive futures with Seven Siblings in Finland, Southern Australia and Arizona    

    2.20 Science Fiction: Voyage to the Edge of the Imagination by the Science Museum in London       

    2.21 Experiential futures as a bridge to foresight practice at ArtScience Museum  








    Dr Kristin Alford is the inaugural Director of MOD. at the University of South Australia.