Rethinking Home: Climate Change in New York and Samoa

Communities in Samoa and New York both face challenges to home and homelands from the increasing severity of climate‐changed weather systems. Between September 2013 and July 2014, a group of Samoans and New Yorkers, with homes in coastal areas impacted by hurricanes, worked together to share and learn from their personal and community experiences of climate change.

The groups approached the issue by focusing on houses and the idea of home. In workshops we explored how our houses define us; how they either succeed or fail in sheltering us; and might adapt in the future.

Practical sessions in May and June 2014 centered on the traditional house of Samoa and on rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy in Staten Island. The teams have kept in touch with each other through discussions in Facebook and on the project’s blog (see link on this page). We are now working on material for schools and a publication. The project has created a strong cross-cultural exchange and we feel it has strengthened participants’ personal resources for dealing with climate change.

For more information please contact Jenny Newell at jnewell@amnh.org or Jacklyn Lacey at jlacey@amnh.org.

Rethinking Home: Climate Change in New York and Samoa was supported by Museum Connect, a grant program of the American Alliance of Museums made possible by the U.S Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The Museums Connect grant program strengthens connections and cultural understanding between people in the United States and abroad through innovative year-long projects facilitated by museums.

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