The Charles H. Wright Museum
of African American History

Preserve our Planet to Preserve History

The Wright takes a holistic approach to addressing our climate crisis. Through award-winning programs and facility improvements, we continuously challenge ourselves and our stakeholders to reframe the role museums play in protecting the environment and addressing climate change. 

  • Breathing New Life Into Dying Trees

    In 2018 three dead and dying Zelcova trees from The Wright Museum’s campus started a five-year collaboration with the College for Creative Studies. The d.Tree Studio and now Exhibition: Past, Present and Future of Detroit Trees. Not only are we diverting and saving these these trees from mulch pile and landfill, but these trees are framing the question - what did The Detroit Trees See.
  • Initiatives

    The Wright is committed not only to preserving African American culture, but to preserving the environment, too.

    The Wright hosts a number of ongoing sustainability initiatives that focus on three core impact areas: water, energy, and waste.
  • Green Stormwater Infrastructure

    Green Stormwater Infrastructure (commonly abbreviated as GSI), loosely defined, is any public works project that diverts stormwater from a municipality's sewers so that it can be preserved for more impactful use elsewhere in the community.
  • The Green Museum Summit

    Learn how The Wright is creating a green museum of the future, including how we will use the landscape, building and exhibits to further the movement.

advocates for climate justice

The Wright is dedicated to climate justice, and is leading the vanguard of 21st-century museums in its effort to make the invisible work of sustainability visible, so that everyone can see that they have a stake in—and can contribute to—environmental preservation.

"Inaction affects us all," says The Wright's President and CEO, Neil Barclay. "So join The Wright as we transform spaces, hearts, and minds to make room for a more equitable future here in Detroit."

Our Commitments to Sustainability

As an institution dedicated to the cause of climate justice, The Wright is committed to the following:

  • Creating a more sustainable museum campus
  • Collaborating with the City of Detroit's Office of Urban Planning to expand the impact of our eco-friendly practices
  • Working with the Green Task Force on Detroit's City Council to extend the scope of what's possible for sustainability efforts in our city
  • Leslie Tom Named a Notable Leader in Sustainability

    The Wright's Chief Sustainability Officer, Leslie Tom, believes successful sustainability is a collaborative effort, and is working to define the “Green Museum of the Future.” Under Tom's leadership, The Wright partnered with the College for Creative Studies to extend the life of dead or dying trees on the museum's campus by developing a lumber woodshed studio.

Community Partners

Recycling groups, food justice groups, young people's groups, civic organizations, local government task forces: we're bringing everyone to the table so that we can confront climate change and other detrimental issues directly, and effectively.

For our Ripple of Impact collaboration with the Michigan Science Center, The Wright was the recipient of the American Alliance of Museums' Sustainability Award, for "people-centered programs that engage museums and their communities in a dialogue on sustainability. [The Wright's] programs worked to shift from a self-described 'culture of waste' toward a holistic, institution-wide culture of environmentalism."

The Wright depends on partnerships with community stakeholders in Detroit and across the great state of Michigan—indeed, across all of the United States—in order to realize our sustainability goals. And our network of community partners is as vast as it is diverse.


Bee Green! Business

Green Living Science

Zero-Waste Detroit


The Green: The Church Summit


Keep Growing Detroit

Paradise Natural Foods

DBCFSN: Fostering Community Food Security


Wheel House Detroit


Freedom School

Youth Energy Squad (YES)


PIC Green: American Alliance of Museums

The Field Museum

We Are Still In


Green Garage

The Sierra Club

The Greening of Detroit

Detroit Revitalization

Fellows of Wayne State University

City of Detroit Green Task Force

Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice

City of Detroit


Land + Water Works

Science Gallery

We the People of Detroit

Fred A. & Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation

Renewable Energy

Ryter Cooperative Industries

Solar Party Detroit

Honor History. Protect Culture.

Support the Wright.