Ambitious environmental targets have been set for Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery. The charitable Trust has already made significant steps in realising its ambitions and is well on the way to meet the expectations of key funders.

Tullie House Trustees have approved a new Environmental Policy and Action Plan. The Trust is making great progress in achieving its aims and objectives designed to minimise the impact that their operations have on the environment. The Trust hopes to lead by example and in addition to actions, use the collections, buildings and partnerships to increase awareness of the climate crisis that we now face. 

The museum has brought environmental sustainability to the forefront of its operations by setting up a cross-departmental Environmental Team. This ensures that all staff and areas of operation are geared towards achieving the environmental objectives.

In February 2020, there was a major capital investment to replace over 200 light fittings for the Art Gallery. The new LED fittings use 50% less electricity and also feature in our new gallery The Costume Collection at Tullie House, due to open in 2021. To reduce energy usage further, Tullie House is also investigating the use of Photo Voltaic solar energy, Electric Vehicle charging points and improving glazing insulation. Water use has been reduced by up to 90% in public toilets with the installation of sensor operated taps.

Tullie House has joined 30 other arts organisations as part of the Arts Council’s Spotlight programme, which is focussed on reducing the carbon emissions of cultural organisations. Julie’s Bicycle, the team leading the initiative, provides energy management support and peer sharing events.

As of 1st April 2021, Tullie House will be on a green electricity tariff for electricity. This means that the organisation will be able to report zero carbon emissions on electricity for 2021/22 and lead to a 55% reduction in overall carbon emissions by 2022.


Katie Proud, Head of Finance and Resources says, “We are determined to make environmental sustainability a key consideration in all our business activities. It can be the assumption that green options are more expensive, but that is often not the case. The switch to a green energy tariff for electricity will cost us less than an additional 1% per year but will reduce our total carbon emissions by 55%. We’ve taken other measures to reduce our footprint too including for retail and catering goods, we are trying to limit suppliers to a 40-mile radius.

Gavin Campbell, Buildings & Technical Manager says “The garden volunteer team are recycling nearly all the garden waste into a composting area and we introduced separate recycling bins in offices. We’re really trying to recycle as much as we can and there’s been a noticeable reduction in the number of skips we require. We even managed to recycle the old air conditioning ducting in the Costume Gallery.”

Keen to utilise the collections, Tullie House is also focussing on including more environmental themes into its displays and exhibitions. Whale Tales, set to open in May 2021, retells the story of Driggsby the Whale and looks at the impact of plastic pollution on our seas and waterways. Formations on the Border Galleries tells the story of Cumbria’s geological history and touches on the impact of climate change. 

Arts Council England have stated that the climate crisis and environmental degradation will be the most significant challenge facing all of us over the next decade and beyond. Tullie House seems to have taken this challenge seriously.