Skip to content
7 min read

Puppets, Play, and Climate Resilience

Are there ways museums can make challenging topics like climate change and climate resilience engaging or even fun for families? We set up our StoryKiosk program in the innovative Tech Kitchen prototyping space at Boston Children's Museum to try a playful approach with puppets. Our goal was to encourage conversation on climate resilience among visitors using social engagement to create a positive museum experience.



StoryKiosk records climate resilience puppet shows

A secondary goal was to test out a Museum Climate Resilience Stories concept, in which museum staff share their own inspirations on how museums can help encourage resilient approaches to climate change.

Visitors, both kids and grown ups, could make a spoon puppet or choose an existing puppet, then create quick conversational stories in response to questions like:

  • Make a puppet show together: Walking in Nature
  • Make a puppet show together: Get Ready for the Storm

And staff could record their inspiration on the topic:

  • How can museum help with climate resilience? Any thoughts or examples?

spoon puppets

Puppet making activity for climate resilience puppet shows

The results? I was amazed at how quickly families got into the puppet shows and talked about resilience. The second topic especially, "Get Ready for the Storm", lent itself to a lot of discussion between grown up and child — "what do we need to get ready for a storm?", etc. The interactions were playful, yet addressed a weighty topic — right where we wanted to be. Next time, we'd combine the interaction with some post-visit resources to create an engaging format that may lead to observable resilience actions.

Chipmunk puppets prepare for climate change


Exploring the ocean together


Museums as leaders of climate change conversations

Brad has contributed to the field with presentations at AAM, ASTC, and ACM Interactivity, where he has led sessions on empathy in exhibits. He has served as a website judge for Museums and the Web and the New England Museum Association, and as a Reviewer for IMLS Leadership Grant proposals.