Thursday 9th September 2021
Dear Science Museum,
The Fridays for Future and Youth Strike for Climate movements were built by young people to protest climate change. Hundreds of thousands of us took to the streets to speak out against the inaction of governments, the silence of the media and the exploitation and destruction caused by fossil fuel companies.
We therefore question why the Science Museum felt it was appropriate to display placards from these protests in an exhibition sponsored by Shell, one of the corporations the climate strikes were fighting against.
Young people who had donated their placards were not informed of the sponsorship at the time of the donation, and this has not since been communicated to them by the Museum.
On behalf of Bella May, whose ‘Keep it cool’ placard is featured in the ‘Our Future Planet’ exhibition, we are requesting its immediate removal from display, and from the museum’s collection. Bella will come to the museum in the week of 27th September to retrieve her placard, with the aim of donating it to the Climate Museum UK instead.
Bella says: ‘I was at the protest in Parliament Square with a placard that me and my friend Sophie Godbold had painted together. One of the ladies from the Science Museum approached us, and we said ‘Of course our poster can go to the Science Museum!’ She presented it as a really cool thing, that it’s going to be in an exhibition and the national archives, and I was really excited. So I handed it over and she gave me some papers to sign, but I wasn’t aware the exhibition was going to be sponsored by Shell. I was really shocked when I found out from UKSCN London. I feel let down because I thought I was being involved in something beneficial for people who were going to come to the exhibition. I’m disappointed that an institution such as the Science Museum would lie like that to the public, and I’d like the museum to come clean about how they’re actually part of the problem. Both Sophie and I would like our placard out of there as soon as possible.’
In addition to the three climate strike placards currently on display, we are aware of twenty others that are in the Museum’s collection. We would like a formal commitment from the Science Museum that none of these placards will ever be displayed in a fossil fuel sponsored space again.
Please confirm that Bella’s placard will have been removed and available for collection by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
UKSCN London, co-organisers of the 2019 London youth strikes