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Environmental Sustainability: Dundee Museum of Transport

A mid-20th century green and cream coloured double decker bus parked next to a navy blue transport vehicle. The two vehicles are located inside a warehouse with brick walls.

The Project

Dundee Museum of Transport, covering cars, bikes, buses, motorcycles and trams, is spread across three buildings in Dundee: the main museum on Market Street, the object storage facility at Seagate and the dilapidated Grade B Listed Maryfield Tram Depot that is planned to be replaced to become Europe’s first fully carbon neutral transport museum, complete with displays on sustainable transport. All three buildings are undergoing changes to reach the ambitious target, and new exhibitions are being made from upcycled or recyclable materials.

Our holistic carbon management planning framework:

The new green building will include:

  • Ground source heating using underground pipes to extract the heat from the ground to heat the building as well as water supplies
  • Cycling facilities and electric car and e-bike charging ports
  • Exhibitions on the Future of Transport, and electric cars
  • Solar panels
  • Increased insulation


The impact it has made

  • The exhibition Cars, COP-26 and the Climate Crisis, using recycled and sustainable materials, focused on sustainable transport at Glasgow Science, COP-26 Green Zone from July until November 2021, and was seen by more than 60,000 people. The heightened exposure helped result in the highest increase in visitor numbers ever at the main museum at Market Mews during 2021. 2022 sees the exhibition hosted at the main museum in Dundee.
  • Due to increased funding, 4 fully-funded new interactives made from recycled or upcycled materials were commissioned for the current museum.
  • The journey to carbon neutrality has saved more than £10,000 in energy costs, and the energy usage has been cut by 37%, whilst all museum sites have switched to using 100% renewable energy.


Lessons Learned

  • Some materials for exhibition costs are non-recyclable- you can re-use Foamex panels to create things like light boxes for your collections management department.
  • It is cheaper and more environmentally friendly to re-use and re-purpose exhibition materials, panels, and interactives from other partner museums if your themes are similar. Ours were from the British Motor Museum, Fifex Interactives and Glasgow Science Centre.
  • Producing retail stock in-house or through local sources, allows for greater control over materials; wood, metal and recycled materials rather than single-use plastic items sourced from China and Southeast Asia.
  • Communicating positive environmental impact changes to visitors and staff through signage and exhibitions is essential and involving visitors in the conversation concerning a move to net zero through interactives helps to increase engagement.
  • The Museum can become an activist for change by demonstrating the changes that our visitors can consider for their own lives.



  • There are 5 minute changes you can make now such as; sign up your museum for the water refill station app on, change all your default search engines to which plants trees with revenue earnt, list your cafés Vegan and Vegetarian options on the Happy Cow app.
  • Join a sustainability network such as Julie’s Bicycle, Creative Carbon Scotland, Fit for the Future, Zero Waste Scotland, Climate Heritage Network, Scottish Climate Beacons, Keep Scotland Beautiful.
  • Create a carbon management plan, example ones can be found at: Field Studies Council Historic Environment ScotlandV&A Dundee

If you would like more information about this project please contact, Alexander Goodger, Museum Manager, Dundee Museum of Transport:

Case Study : Environmental Sustainability at Dundee Museum of Transport