Madison Children's Museum 2004 Sustainability Guidelines for Contractors

At Madison Children's Museum we began using sustainable materials for children's museum exhibit building and fabrication in 1998. We are committed to building exhibits for children that are safe from the numerous environmental toxins that are present in most museum construction. We are equally committed to helping sustain our earth, by using the least amount of resources we can in our fabrication, and finding creative ways to rebuild, recycle and handle construction waste.

We have adopted an institutional sustainability mission statement which guides us in our work, and which we take very seriously. All contractors hired by MCM are required to work within the standards that we have set and work with our team to ensure that sustainable design principles are met. While these are guidelines, we also understand that there needs to be flexibility, so that we can balance the demands of the project with our commitments to sustainability.

Madison Children's Museum Sustainability Mission:

At Madison Children's Museum we focus on children, including their future. We are committed to being a sustainable organization, balancing economic, social, and environmental factors to help ensure that we meet our present needs, while enabling future generations to meet their needs. We empower and equip children to actively shape the world they will inherit.

As educational and community leaders, we will

  • integrate the principles of sustainability into all major business decisions,
  • seek collaborative partnerships,
  • evaluate and reduce the environmental impacts of our operations, and
  • design and develop our products, services, and materials with the long-term health of our children and community in mind.
Sustainability Guidelines for Contractors:
  1. Whenever possible, materials will be derived from local sources. For example, exotic Brazilian marble or African hardwoods would not be allowed, and pine and limestone, which are native to our area, would be encouraged.
  2. The majority of the woods used in fabrication will be local, sustainably harvested woods.
  3. The majority of the resources used in fabrication will be found within a 350 mile radius of Madison, or wherever fabrication is taking place.
  4. If plastic products are necessary for fabrication, contractors will need written consent from the Museum.
  5. Fibers used in the exhibit will be natural materials, rather than synthetics. Preference will be given to organic materials whenever possible. This includes wool, cotton, silk, hemp, etc.
  6. Wherever possible, thick tempered glass will be used in lieu of Plexiglass.
  7. Printing processes will use water based or soy based inks whenever possible.
  8. Standard plastic laminates will not us used in exhibit construction without the written consent of the Museum.
  9. The use of recycled timbers is encouraged whenever appropriate.
  10. Designing and building for durability, reuse, easy refurbishment, and easy adaptability are requirements.
  11. The use of water based paints, polyurethanes and finishes is recommended. The use of milk paints and milk paint finishes is encouraged. The Safecoat product (AFM) line is the museum’s preferred source of finishes.
  12. The use of products containing anything higher than low-VOC’s require the written permission of the Museum.
  13. The use of local vendors is encouraged whenever possible for outsourcing portions of the project that need specialty services.
  14. The use of wheat board or other new alternative board products is encouraged.
  15. Waste will be kept to a minimum, and contractors will be asked to recycle or reuse at least 75% of construction waste.
  16. Whenever possible, bulk shipping and ordering are recommended to cut down on shipping expenses and waste.