Interview with Craig Johnson Part II: Sustainability at James J. Hill House and in Craig's Life

This interview was conducted by Yixuan Cai, our Summer 2015 Sustainability intern. Yixuan co-wrote this post with Shengyin Xu. It was edited by Samuel Courtier.

Drawing room of the James. J Hill House

Craig Johnson: "Yes, it's true that it is a place of conspicuous consumption---they had way too much and no one needs all that---, yet many of the choices they made were much more sustainable than the ones we make today.”

Craig Johnson discusses Sustainability at James J. Hill House and in his personal life.

At first glance, it may appear that James J. Hill House has little to teach us about Sustainability. Indeed, as the Gilded Age mansion of the 'Empire Builder,' Hill House seems to embody extravagance and---borrowing terminology from Craig---'conspicuous consumption.' However, during our interview, Craig shed light on the variety of opportunities he's found for incorporating Sustainability into the Hill House's story and day-to-day operations.


Interview with Craig Johnson Part I: MNHS Green Team Flashback

This interview was conducted by Yixuan Cai, our Summer 2015 Sustainability intern. Yixuan co-wrote this post with Shengyin Xu. It was edited by Samuel Courtier.

Craig Johnson at James J. Hill House

Craig Johnson: “Through the lens of Sustainability, we can take a close look at how people did things in the past and contrast them with how they do things today. All of the MNHS programs might have greater relevance when evaluated in light of the big Sustainability issues of our day—climate change being foremost.”

Craig Johnson gives us a history of the Green Team at MNHS and tells the story of Sustainability’s evolution from brown bag topic to strategic priority.

Sustainability is a strategic priority at MNHS thanks to the collaboration of a few passionate individuals who assembled to form the MNHS Green Team in 2008. Craig Johnson, a founding member, played an instrumental role in the transformation of the Green Team's early successes, like the "Green Team Tips" e-mail campaign, into institution-wide commitment to sustainable practice.

Craig began his career at MNHS in 1977 as an interpreter at Fort Snelling. From 1984 on, he held various positions at James J. Hill House, becoming site manager in 1994. In 2015, Craig decided to leave MNHS to focus on another of his passions, theater. Before moving on, Craig was kind enough to sit down with Yixuan Cai, our Summer 2015 Sustainability Intern, for an interview at James J. Hill House. Craig gave us a retrospective on the origins of the Green Team and the evolution of the Sustainability initiative at MNHS.


New Sustainability Intern

I am Babita Shrestha and I am the sustainability intern here at Minnesota Historical Society. I worked with the Sustainability & Capital Projects team this fall on the “More for the Mission” blog and the recent staff sustainability event.  I have enjoyed working on the event in collaboration with some of you at MNHS and I am looking forward to applying how to use design to connect people to the topic of sustainability. I wanted to tell you a little bit about myself and my career journey to MNHS. 


Our New Sustainability Intern

Hi everyone, I’m Yixuan (pronounced as “E-Shwan”) Cai. I’m the new sustainability intern here at Minnesota Historical Society. In the following weeks, I’ll work with Shengyin to develop our More for the Mission campaigns. I’m looking forward to learning how museums address sustainability issues and making voices for sustainability heard. Since I’ll post a few entries here in the following weeks, maybe you want to know a little bit about me!


Sustainability Feature in Latest Issue of Museum

The latest July / August 2014 issue of Museum features the white paper on sustainability standards developed by AAM's PIC-Green (American Alliance of Museum's Professional Network on Green Museums).  The feature is an excerpt from the full white paper that describes the challenges of museum sustainbility and the current state of standards in the wider sustainability field.  

Minnesota Historical Society's sustainability program is one of the case studies referenced in the white paper for our approach that is "rooted in science and data."


Twin Cities Bike Week

This week is Twin Cities Bike Week. Several events are going on throughout the Twin Cities during the week. The campaign encourages people to get on a bike and ride to work, school, or other activities. Check out some of the events or enjoy the spring weather, hop on your bike and go for a ride.

 


Earth Week Event

The first Earth Day was held on April 22, 1970 since then over 192 countries and 1 billion people participate in the worldwide event. Earth Day is tomorrow, Tuesday, April 21st, but since the growth of the Earth Day network environmental programs throughout the country take place throughout the entire week.


Walk to Work Day

Do you need to increase your steps count as the final week of the 'Take the Stairs' steps contest (don't forget to log your steps here) finishes up? There is a national event that can help you get your last minute steps. Friday, April 4th is Walk to Work Day. 


Take the Stairs Update

Two weeks ago the More for the Mission campaign rolled out our ‘Take the Stairs’ initiative. We set out to promote a healthy work environment while conserving both time and energy.

Since the start of the campaign we have received several questions about some of the statistics present on the postcards. Below are some of the statistics we discovered while collecting information about the elevators.


MNHS Take the Stairs Campaign

As the new year rolls around many people are thinking of their New Year’s resolutions. Over the next couple weeks staff members will begin to see posters about taking the stairs throughout the History Center. As you think about your New year’s resolution a simple action would be participating in the More for the Mission Take the Stairs campaign!

Did you know that the average wait time for an elevator at the History Center is 20 seconds?